It's the second award for the project. Earlier in the year it won a Webby Award for best use of video or moving image online.
Ahead of the crucial 2015 climate change talks in Paris, environmental correspondent John Vidal and I travelled through the Mekong countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, meeting people affected by climate change and witnessing the ecological havoc created by giant dams, deforestation, coastal erosion and fast-growing cities. The result, crafted by Lindsay and the team in London, is an immersive experience that incorporates video, photography, graphics and text in a widescreen desktop version and, controversially, a 9:16 vertical video version for mobile. At the time I was impressed by the ambition of the project, and (pleasantly) surprised by the significant resources being put towards it.
This year, however, we have seen many of the major online media tightening their belts or restructuring their video departments as they scramble to find a working model for an internet dominated by Google and Facebook. Increasingly they are producing video content aimed principally at Facebook, despite the total lack of profit for themselves. Facebook and Google meanwhile are raking in the vast majority of online advertising revenue. If everyone is to consume all their video via these platforms, that doesn't leave much space, or budget, for innovative immersive projects like this, in which a whole platform is created to tell a story in a unique way. There is a great deal of concern across the industry about what the dominance of the internet giants will mean for media like the Guardian.
Financial concerns aside, for me, consuming video on Facebook is like catching raindrops in your mouth - content pours down on you, and you consume fragments of meaning in an almost arbitrary way. The sustenance of each lasts a second and you move on to the next. I hope awards for pieces like this encourage media to keep pushing for ambitious and innovative projects, and show that the internet is a place for long as well as short-form visual journalism.