The NPF judges said: “These two projects reflect the Des Moines Register’s persistent pursuit of innovation and new ways of storytelling with their partners at Gannett Product. The use of new tools like virtual reality and 360 video reflects a culture of experimentation in a newsroom that should be recognized and rewarded. Their utilization of technology created game-changing consumer experiences. The judges were impressed the Register produced two technologically ambitious projects in one year.”
Starting in the summer of 2014, the staffs of The Des Moines Register and the Gannett Product division partnered to pioneer two digital news breakthroughs within a single year. “Harvest of Change” used virtual reality technology to bring people to a six-generation family farm in Iowa, and coverage of the “Iowa State Fair Presidential Soapbox” live-streamed presidential speeches in spherical 360-degree video. The Des Moines Register’s news gathering team was led by Amalie Nash, the Register’s executive editor and vice president for news and engagement and a former assistant managing editor at the Detroit Free Press. The Gannett Product group’s engineers and designers — guided by Mitch Gelman, Gannett’s vice president of digital product whose work as journalist at CNN and New York Newsday includes a Pulitzer Prize for reporting — created the immersive environment in which the experiential storytelling was brought to life.
Des Moines Register
Wall Street Journal, for embracing technology to build tools that allow consumers to browse the data.