Monday, May 18, 2015

Using technology to tell great stories: the first ever AAJA-Google Digital Journalism Award

Editor's note: This post comes from Angie Lau, President, Asian American Journalists Association-Asia

The core of good journalism has been, and always will be the same: tell a compelling story, and do it accurately and creatively. Technology has not changed this core, but what it has done is open up new ways for journalists to tell stories. To spotlight some of Asia's best digital journalism, the Asian American Journalists Association is proud to announce the winner and honorable mentions of the first ever AAJA-Google Digital Journalism Award.

These stories are as remarkable for their creativity as their technical prowess: they use everything from video, interactive maps, and even Google Glass to present powerful, thought-provoking, and empathetic stories.

Winner: Patrick Boehler, South China Morning Post: "Voices from Tiananmen"-
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In this interactive SCMP feature, Patrick Boehler and his team at the SCMP, ChinaFile, and Hong Kong University’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre take the reader on a journey through one of China's uglier pages of its history, spotlighting the voices and issues that remain. This submission is notable for its sheer breadth of perspectives as well as its seamless use of video, interactive maps, graphics, archival recordings, and photos. “Voices from Tiananmen” stands to be a canonical resource testifying to this contentious chapter in recent Chinese history.

Honorable mentions:
Josh Kim: "Google Glass Diaries" -
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This is an ambitious project that uses Google Glass in a rich and surprising way in order to "celebrate the uncelebrated." From a betel nut vendor in Myanmar to a barber in Laos, these first person point of view video vignettes give a remarkably intimate glimpse into these “average” lives — yet the result is anything but average. Josh aims to complete 100 vignettes of people across seven continents.

Cedric Sam, South China Morning Post: "Occupy Lapse" -
Occupy Hong Kong was a seminal moment in Hong Kong’s history. But keeping up with the sometimes chaotic protest was hard. Cedric Sam found a wonderfully innovative way to provide a snapshot of the protests in real-time, using tools that are available for free to anyone: archival traffic webcam images available as open data by the Hong Kong government, as well as Google Maps pinpointing the locations of the cameras. Cedric gives us an unfiltered glimpse into what happened during the days from October to December, 2014 when Hong Kong was in the grips of protest.

Congratulations to these award winners, and we hope to see more remarkable examples of outstanding digital journalism in the future.

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