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A visually stunning series tells the story of India’s population surpassing China’s

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Photographer Anupam Nath, Chief Photographer Manish Swarup, video journalist Shonal Ganguly, reporter Sibi Arasu, photo editor Subramony Iyer, senior video journalist Rishi Lekhi, reporter Aniruddha Ghosal, photographer Rafiq Maqbool, video journalist Piyush Nagpal, reporter Sheikh Saaliq, correspondent Krutika Pathi, photographer Rajnish Kakade

How do you tell the story of the world’s largest democracy taking over the mantle of the world’s most populous country, surpassing China and shaking up the century-old global population rankings? Who are these 1.4 billion Indians who reflect the divergent demographic and economic trajectories of one of the fastest-growing major economies?

AP’s team zeroed in on an ambitious approach that would thematically cut across several global beats and intersect with India’s immense geographical diversity. The crews travelled across the length and breadth of India, chronicling ordinary Indians, their triumphs and struggles, and their aspirations. The stories that comprise the package focus on the lived realities of a cross section of Indians, as they navigate everyday challenges. They examined women dropping from the workforce, social and economic inequality, high unemployment, deepening religious fault lines, lack of access to healthcare, the fraught idea of citizenship and the climate change impact on an ageing population in the country’s more prosperous south. AP’s Climate, Religion and Health and Science, graphics and social promotion teams deepened the storytelling with insights and visually engaging content. Photo editor Yirmiyan Arthur and Bangkok video producer Penny Wang pitched in with the digital presentation ideas while video edits incorporated time lapses and expansive drone visuals.

The features were supplemented by spot coverage and analysis of UN reports on the latest numbers and comparisons to an aging China, which is expected to slow down after years of rapid growth. And a timely explainer delved into how the population is counted and demographers being unsure of exactly when India will take the title because they’re relying on estimates.

For its compelling and richly textured deep dive into the world’s newly designated population superpower, the package of stories about India’s population by the team in New Delhi, Guwahati and Mumbai earns this week’s first honorable mention.

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