As part of the final results of our research, we’ve compiled The Explainer Awards, a look at the best explainers on the web. Without further ado, here they are:
Best Crowdsourced Explainer
The Ultimate Climate Change FAQ, The Guardian and Duncan Clark
This explainer truly gets the goal of an FAQ: addressing which questions are in fact frequently asked. It is user friendly, and continues to be updated. We hope it will be a great resource for years to come.
See our interview with Duncan Clark here.
Best Interactive Explainer
Budget Breakdown, Associated Press
Unlike other government shutdown explainers, this one uses a tight package of interactive content all housed in one place. It has visual breakdowns of what’s being cut and what’s at stake. It has timelines and historical context of past shutdowns. And it has text and video. What more could you ask for?
You can find our post on the government shutdown here.
Explainer As a Children’s Book
20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web, Google Chrome
Best Contextual Short Video
The History of the Tea Party, Slate V
It’s short and punchy, and uses a montage of news clips and motion graphics to explain how the tea party became so popular. It also uses humor, which is totally appropriate in this situation. Because who doesn’t want to crack teabagging jokes and see an Auto-Tuned Christine O’Donnell?
Best Ongoing Event Explainer
What’s Happening in Egypt Explained, Mother Jones, Nick Baumann, and Siddhartha Mahanta
Mother Jones established itself in the explainersphere with its series of “What’s Happening” posts about various issues this spring: first Tunisia, then Egypt, then Wisconsin, and so on. But the Egypt post really seemed to captivate the web’s attention and helped spur the website’s 400% traffic increase in February. It’s comprehensive and useful, but it also became a template for future success.
You can find our interview with Nick Baumann here.
Explanation Rock Star
NPR’s Planet Money
In addition to being a great package with audio, video, and interactive graphics, this team also pooled their personal money to purchase part of the kind of asset that caused the collapse of our economy. They put themselves into the story, and lost almost half of their money in the process. That kind of sacrifice can’t be expected in the name of explanation, but we think it should be recognized.
Most Valuable Explainer
Should I Work For Free?, Jessica Hische
This chart asks a question that affects us in Studio 20 directly. It shows us that, unless you’re working for a friend who gave you a kidney or making garage sale flyers for your mother, the resounding answer is no. We appreciate it for both its directness and its humor.