The work entitled ‘How Big Was Last Sunday’s Protest in Hong Kong’ has been awarded the prize of Human Rights Best Graphic Award (Print). The work was published in The New York Times (USA) and the team behind the piece, Jin Wu and Anjali Singhvi, shares with us some of what went in to creating the piece and the challenges they faced.
Could you briefly explain the idea of the story?
On June 16, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets of Hong Kong, protesting against a proposed extradition bill. Organizers estimated that two million people participated in the march, possibly making it one of the largest in Hong Kong’s history.
The main roads, stretching for almost two miles, were filled with protesters for hours. There was no single photo that could capture the scale. So we pored over more than a hundred photos and videos of the march and merged them into composite images.
The idea was simple: creating an experience that gives readers a visceral sense of the size of the protest.
What was the process of working on the graphic?
We started with gathering all the drone footage and aerial imagery we could find on social media and on the wires. We collected more than a hundred images and clips. After getting permission to use the images, we started geolocating each one of them to determine where in Hong Kong each one was taken. We spent a lot of effort comparing and verifying buildings on Google Maps.
While picking the photos and footage, we made sure they were captured within a reasonable time range to create snapshots of moments in the protest.
One of the time-consuming tasks was the work to position the images so they appeared as seamlessly as possible. We added annotations to provide context for readers to better understand what was happening in that moment on the streets of Hong Kong.
What has been the challenge of this story?
We didn’t know if we would pull it off when we first started reporting for this piece. There were lots of unknowns in covering a massive protest like these: whether there was enough aerial footage and photos to composite; how many of them were taken from ideal angles; and were they taken at about the same time.
Jin Wu and Anjali Singhvi