2015 Explanatory Reporting, Large Newsroom finalist



About the Project

The New York Times has gone to extraordinary lengths to chronicle the Ebola tragedy. We are proud of our efforts, which have engaged a global audience in real time, on all platforms.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has been the worst in history, claiming more than 10,000 lives. To convey the scale of the outbreak, The Times has mobilized dozens of reporters, photographers, video journalists and others over the last year.

In late December, the Times published a definitive narrative that explained how a single case in a remote village spawned an epidemic.

For a fleeting moment in the spring of 2014, the virus spreading through West Africa might have been stopped. But an opportunity to control the deadly virus was lost.

The Times’s multimedia reconstruction of the Ebola outbreak featured pictures by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Daniel Berehulak as a central part of the digital presentation, optimized for mobile and tablets. Integrated videos tracked the virus’s rampage through some of Africa’s most vulnerable communities, going back to patient zero — a young boy in Guinea who died in December 2013.

This reconstruction came after a year in which dozens of Times journalists, many reporting for months from inside the Ebola zone, remained committed to telling the story thoroughly and authoritatively.

Health crises can quickly and easily sow fear among people when they lack the sufficient facts. Those Times editors and reporters mined data, talked to experts and separated rumor and conjecture from verifiable fact to provide some of the most authoritative explanatory journalism online.

Regularly updated infographics, distributed on social platforms, answered the most salient questions during the outbreak and provided a running tally of what we knew and what we were still trying to confirm when it was most important to our readers.

At its core, the Ebola outbreak was a human story — mostly tragic, with stunning examples of resilience. Our journalists worked in concert to create seamless storytelling across media and devices.

Mr. Berehulak’s pictures of a Liberian family devastated by Ebola captured the gut-wrenching struggles of those most affected by the outbreak. Ben Solomon, a Times staff videographer, showcased the resilience of many Africans who refused to be bowed by the epidemic.

In April, The Times was honored with two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of Ebola.