Saving the Reef, written by Adam Morton with images by Jason South, highlights the challenge the Great Barrier Reef faces daily and offers possible solutions to restore it to its former glory. The final package integrates text, images, graphs and video into six digital chapters.
SOPA judges praised the nuanced nature of the piece. “This entry is astonishingly comprehensive, informative and attractive.
“The interactives work smoothly, the visuals and video elements are well-edited and to the point, and the entire package presents a well-rounded examination of the problems facing the Great Barrier Reef, along with possible ways to help reduce the damage,” judges said.
Saving the Reef was a huge team effort, both in production and execution. Morton and South spent a considerable amount of time at the reef for the story.
The project was also the first time either masthead had tackled underwater 360-degree video, which required the purchase of “quite a bit of gear”. Other shots required the hiring of planes.
Executive editor for photography and presentation, Matt Martel, said the project was a major effort for the team. “It was a project I really believed in and pushed hard. Underwater 360-degree video was a first for us and was more successful than even I suspected it would be,” Martel said.
“We’ve won a large number of national and international awards over the past few years for both our digital and print work, and that reflects the skill and dedication of everyone in the broader photography and design/graphics department.
“Saving the Reef shows the best of what you can do with digital storytelling and I am immensely proud of it and of the team that won,” he said.
Other members of the team were Dionne Gain, Matt Teffer, Andrew Forbes, Aparna Khopkar, Mallory Brangan, Richard Lama, Nick Wells, Tony Walters and Tim Young.
This is not the first award the interactive presentation has won. Earlier this year, the International Society for News Design awarded Saving the Reef an Award of Excellence. Fairfax was the only Australian entry to win for news design.
The Society of Publishers in Asia has held the annual awards for editorial excellence since 1999, aiming to encourage the continued quality of print and new media.