A Facebook story: this WaPo piece will stop you in your tracks

December 10th, 2010 by Dave Leave a reply »

You know, while this is a blog about journalism, and one that you’d expect to examine the techniques and developments in how we report online, it would seem almost crude to do that with this example.

After all, sometimes the best journalism is in the act of getting out of the way. And there is perhaps no better example of this than this link I was sent today.

I didn’t know who Shana Greatman Swers was. And, by all rights, I had no need to pry into her tragic world. Nor did I have any right to be a part of her husband’s grief, or the sadness of her friends and family.

And yet, it’s that family’s bravery that has made Shana’s story become more than a statistic. And it’s the invention of the Washington Post’s webteam which has put this story in a format which facilitates an impact which will leave you speechless.

UPDATE: Interestingly, Bobbie Johnson seems to see it from another angle – tweeting that the format of this seems “oddly impersonal”. I can see his point – the annotate format is something we’re more used to seeing for far more mundane subjects – but I can’t think of something more personal than seeing how a story unfolded as told by the people it affected the most. What do we think?

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