2022 Online Commentary winner

Postcards From a World on Fire

The New York Times

Online Commentary


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About the Project

Climate change is too often seen as an abstraction, a problem for future generations. With searing words, images and sound from every nation on Earth, “Postcards From a World on Fire” made the reality hit home: The climate has already changed everywhere, and those changes are affecting everything.

With “Postcards,” we wanted to reach people who might not be inclined to read about climate change, who might view climate stories as “homework.” We decided we could do so by turning the undeniable reality of a warming planet into a scrollable, swipeable experience.

To put this project together, we spent hundreds of hours researching and reporting on every corner of the planet. The project included first-person audio testimony about the effects of climate change, collected by journalists and researchers in countries from Qatar to Mongolia. It featured sounds of the natural world, found video footage and original photo essays. The project included reported interviews and mini-articles that delved into how climate change could exacerbate H.I.V./AIDS and how extreme heat could lead to organ failure. Our graphics teams created powerful data visualizations from countries like Ghana (on the link between rising temperatures and productivity decline) and Nepal (on the explosion of dengue fever). The whole project was brought together with an urgent editorial message presented in a video.

The result: an ambitious editorial experience that made the everyday reality of life on a warming planet impossible to ignore — and, in fact, it made it compelling to watch, read and listen to.

Judges Comments

This is, quite simply, an incredible experience, utilizing comprehensive design elements, research, audio, video — all in a format specifically meant for digital. The blend of impressive reporting and global inclusiveness put this in a class of its own.