It’s been an award-winning spring and summer for Long Lead’s multimedia feature “The People vs. Rubber Bullets.” Just six months into 2023, Linda Rodriguez McRobbie’s story — the most comprehensive explainer ever produced on the topic of less-lethal projectiles — has already been hailed by critics as one of the year’s best.
Called “a stunning, gut-wrenching account of the real-life impacts of so-called less-lethal munitions on civilians and journalists” by NYU’s American Journalism Online Awards, the seven-part story chronicles the rise of these brutal policing tools from 1970s Northern Ireland to their rampant misuse during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. NYU named the story a “Feature Most Likely to Inspire Future Journalists” and Long Lead itself as 2023’s “Best Non-Traditional News Source.” The Society of Professional Journalists had more praise for “The People vs. Rubber Bullets.” Awarding the production a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Specialized Journalism Site, they praised the production for its “creative approach and ingenious techniques [to] capture attention and engage the audience to deliver important information that otherwise might be overlooked — the danger of projectiles promoted as life-saving.”
“The People vs. Rubber Bullets” also won at this year’s Webby Awards, besting a crowd of prestigious news outlets including ProPublica, NBC News, The Washington Post, and Vogue. The juried competition gave the production the prize for Best Individual Editorial Feature, the third Webby Award that Long Lead has won in two years. Lifted by the wonderful work of Long Lead’s production partners at Decimal Studios, “The People vs. Rubber Bullets” has also won big at design competitions this year. The ADC Annual Awards awarded the feature a Bronze Cube for Production Design, the second time in as many years that Long Lead and Decimal have earned this prize. At the D&AD Awards in London, the production also won a prestigious Yellow Pencil for Digital Publications, an iconic award for “outstanding work that achieves true creative excellence.”