June 23, 2024

Serene Nest

taking care of your health, Our Mission

“The Human Limit” awarded the 2024 Data-Driven Storytelling Award from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation

3 min read

Announcement from Climate Editor Zachary Goldfarb, Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl, Deputy Director of Photography Sandra Stevenson, Data Reporting Director Meghan Hoyer, Creative Director Greg Manifold and Director of Editorial Video Micah Gelman:

We’re pleased to announce that “The Human Limit” has won the 2024 Data-Driven Storytelling Award from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. The foundation received 45 nominations for the award and selected 10 finalists.

The series, involving a deep collaboration between the Climate, International, Data, Photo, Video and Design teams, explored climate change’s pernicious threat to human health across the world. Winning entries examined how global warming was fueling disease and death in Pakistan, where dangerous heat is surging, the surprisingly dangerous link between schizophrenia and extreme heat, the inequality of heat stress in India, how heat fuels hunger in Yemen, how global warming is fueling the spread of malaria in Mozambique, and the rise of a flesh-eating fungus in the American West.

The project required combining highly sophisticated analysis of climate and health data with on-the-ground reporting to produce immersive narratives and interactive visuals. Underpinning several of the stories was a collaboration with CarbonPlan, a nonprofit that performs analyses of large climate data sets and releases them to the public. Together, we built one of the best and most accessible models of how many days each year people experience health-threatening heat — and how often they will in the future — in nearly 15,500 cities. The team turned that analysis into a series of graphics and interactives that let people explore where people were most affected, and understand why. In India, we deployed reporters, drones and seniors to neighborhoods we had identified as high risk by using used satellite-based temperature and tree-cover maps. We turned these findings into interactive graphics that blended drone footage and photography with modeled architecture of neighborhoods, showing how heat physically moved through spaces and why certain people face extreme heat and others don’t.

For our story on the spread of malaria, we built on three models that measured lengths of the transmission season and populations at risk by overlaying that data on maps showing elevation. By doing so we identified places where the disease could pose a future risk to populations with little or no immunity. And in our story on the spread of Valley fever in the American West, we deconstructed researchers’ data showing how coccidioides could spread in a warmer future, by separately analyzing changing temperature and drought patterns to show what is powering the fungus’s spread.

The team recognized for the award includes Niko Kommenda, Annie Gowen, Shannon Osaka, Erin Patrick O’Connor, Simon Ducroquet, Hailey Haymond, Joshua Partlow, Veronica Penney, John Muyskens, Kevin Crowe, Carolyn Van Houten, Jahi Chikwendiu, Rachel Chason, Oriana Chegwidden, Jeremy Freeman, Anant Gupta, Atul Loke, Kareem Fahim, Saiyna Bashir, Ali al-Mujahed, Lorenzo Tugnoli, Caitlin O’Hara, and Adriana Zehbrauskas.

Juliet Eilperin and Monica Ulmanu were the lead editors on the project. Also serving as editors on the project were John Farrell, Jessica Koscielniak, Olivier Laurent, Stuart Leavenworth, Jesse Mesner-Hage, Joe Moore, Anu Narayanswamy, Alan Sipress, Amanda Voisard, Jay Wang, and Katie Zezima. The project received additional support from the Design Department and Copy Desk.

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