The COVID-19 pandemic and its various impacts have generated a range of data narratives as governments and media seek to understand and explain what is happening and what might happen.

Rarely has a single story dominated the news in a way that makes almost all other subjects insignificant.

To keep things accessible, governments across the globe have tended to present data to the public as standard, one-dimensional graphics which inhibit, rather than encourage exploration.

News and media depictions of the pandemic have typically been more ambitious. We have analysed compelling COVID 19 data visualisations to acknowledge some interesting approaches and innovations.

We were inspired by Space reporter Neel V. Patel’s March article from the MIT Technology Review and collaborated with information design experts to explore what constitutes an excellent data visualisation.

We have awarded category leaders in the fields of Innovation, Aesthetic, Narrative, Interactive and Responsive.

Additionally, there are significant players whose contributions we would like to acknowledge. Johns Hopkins University for its clarity and information-rich dashboards. Next Strain for their informed, interactive visuals aimed at scientific audiences. Developers Baselab who deliver the latest pandemic information dynamically. The Financial Times’ visual and data journalism team who update news graphics and visualisations on an intra-hourly basis and The Guardian’s data visualisations, which can be read either as enlightened features or as intuitive datasets for longform editorial.

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