My first data journalism award!

That’s right, the news application I created for PRI.org has won the Public Choice Award in the Data Journalism Award 2016!

Thanks to my colleagues, families, friends and readers who have voted for the news application “What if the Syrian civil war happened in your country?”.

It was first shortlisted as one of the five finalists under the category “News Data App of the Year (Small Newsroom)” and later, together with other finalists in all 10 categories, opened for public voting. The finalist with the highest vote would be given the Public Choice Award. The awards organized by the Global Editors Network received 241 entries this year.

Here’s the idea behind the news app that simulates the damages brought by the Syrian civil if it were to happen in another country.

“How do you generate empathy with the victims of a war that has been repeatedly told through various formats and media in the past 5 years? Despite being the most disastrous humanitarian situation in the 21st century, most of us have become numb to the Syrian civil war. Numbers and infographics highlighting the cruelty of the crisis no longer move us. In conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the Syrian civil war and the growing anti-refugee sentiment in the US and Europe, this news app uses basic data to allow users to simulate the civil war in their own country, moving the war closer to their hearts. This is another attempt by PRI.org to combine personalization of data, interactivity and creativity to create empathy after the hugely successful news app “What if your hometown were hit by the Hiroshima atomic bomb?” last August.”

Cited and embedded by other news websites in both the US and Europe, it has been used over 37,000 times in less than one month by users from all over the world, generating much more traffic than an average PRI story.