Journalist Andrew North’s dedication to “slow story-telling” has helped EurasiaNet.org garner a nomination for a Webby Award, one of the most prestigious honors in digital media.
EurasiaNet’s Webby entrant is a special feature called “The Big Draw: Selling the Soviet Past.”
The feature revolves around an interactive panoramic drawing by North of the Eliava Market in Tbilisi, Georgia. The sights and sounds of the market, along with the stories of some of the vendors who work there, provide a fresh perspective on the post-Soviet experience 25 years after the collapse of communism.
“It’s a story about Georgia’s turbulent transition, navigating competing pressures from the Soviet past as the country as a whole looks West,” North says.
The special feature is one of five contenders in the Webby People’s Voice “weird” category. The winner is determined by voting by the online participants. Voting closes on April 20. Fans of EurasiaNet can cast their ballot here.
“We’re honored to receive a Webby nomination,” says Justin Burke, EurasiaNet’s managing editor. “It is the product of great teamwork involving writers, editors and production partners.”
It took North four months to finish the panoramic sketch of the Eliava Market, which is roughly four meters (over 13 feet) in length. It took another two months for North to compile the video interviews with vendors. The biggest challenge, according to North, was maintaining a consistent scale and perspective in the sketch while working in a cramped, bustling environment.
“There was only room to stand, using a long piece of floorboard I found as a drawing-board, and I worked for up to 8 hours at a time, for weeks on end to get it done,” he said.
A Tbilisi-based data visualization firm, JumpStart Georgia, transformed the material created by North into the finished, interactive feature. “I come from a hard news, breaking news background, but so often the story gets lost in the high-speed churn. Drawing makes you slow down and think about the story in a different way,” North said.
The Webby Awards, now in their 21st year, are presented annually by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.