I was responsible for data/API integration, building our proof of concept and implementing the site’s search functionality.
In this case study:
The 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida highlighted a gap in the media's coverage of gun violence. School shootings make national news, yet, everyday, children are killed by guns and their stories go unheard. Two hundred teen journalists came together to tell those stories in collaboration with The Trace, the Miami Herald and McClatchy. My team at Upstatement worked with The Trace to design and develop a data- and humanity-driven website to commemorate these victims and communicate the scale of America's gun violence epidemic.
I joined the project at the start of development and focused first on building our proof of concept. At this point, my team had more or less completed the visual design and user experience of the site — with exceptional attention to the sensitivity of the content and an emphasis on data humanism: how these children lived rather than how they died.
Data were stored in Airtable which served as the hub in which the journalists worked. On our end, we used Jekyll, and I took the lead on integrating Airtable's API to pull data and generate site content. Continuing that work, I leveraged Algolia's API to build the site's search functionality and the page to display the names of all 1,200 victims, the design of which was inspired by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
This was my first project during my apprenticeship at Upstatement and it was certainly full of many firsts. For many of us on the team, it was our first time working with this tech stack. It was my first time collaborating with journalists and editors and my first time working so closely with clients in a studio environment. Above all, I really felt like I was a part of a team for the first time (as cheesy as that sounds). I was able to learn so much both from and alongside my team members through the challenges of a difficult and heavy project. I'll always remember how we ordered pizza the evening before launch and ended up staying in the office past 9pm when our build suddenly broke.
It was really inspiring to see the public’s response to the project and the conversation it was able to reignite around gun violence. This kind of work is the reason I decided to pursue a career in journalism — it reminds me that, as a designer-developer, I can make an impact.
"Since Parkland" has been recognized by a number of awards since it's publication:
- Winner: 2019 Pro-Am Student Award
- Winner 2019 Global Youth & News Media Award
- Finalist: 2019 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award - Social Good
- Finalist: 2019 Online Journalism Awards - Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships
- Nominee: 2020 Webby for Best Individual Editorial Feature - Media Company
View the full project at sinceparkland.org.