Sunday, the Boston Globe published an epic eight-page special section that examined the lives, troubles and downfall of Tamerlan and Dzhoklar Tsarnaev, the two young men who are accused of bombing the Boston Marathon last April.
The former, you might recall, was shot dead by police and then run over by his younger brother in a chase a few days after the bombing. The latter is in custody and awaiting trial.
The Globe spent five months investigating the brothers both in the Boston area and back in the Russian republic of Dagestan. The story was written by staffers Sally Jacobs, David Filipov and Patricia Wen.
The Globe started its two stories on the front, beneath a family portrait illustrated by freelancer Josie Jammet.
Click that — or any page here today — for a larger look.
The presentation was designed by assistant managing editor Dan Zedek. This was the front of section V, where the jumps of the stories were presented.
Pages two and three reply mostly on pictures taken in Dagestan.
Pages four and five are led by more illustrations.
Notice the little silhouettes of the brothers, used in quote boxes here.
Page six, below left, wraps up the section on Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Page seven, above right, is the first of two full pages on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Here’s page eight, the back page of the section.
Dan urges us all to check out the online version, which was not put behind the paywall this time:
Very cool online version, too, design and development by Elaiana Natario and Gabriel Florit.
The story is a fabulous read, of course, so I recommend it strongly.
Remember the little silhouettes? For the online version, they become a navigation tool — a way of leaping between the two parallel stories of the two brothers. Note the tiny strip across the top here.
I have to admit, though, now that I’ve taken the time to read that online version, that I don’t quite understand the backlash against the online presentation — an backlash that was documented in a Storify Sunday and Monday by Mindy McAdams.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
I told Dan:
I saw the big storified debate on that presentation today and made a mental note to go check it out when I have time.
I’ve probably read a good dozen or so “Snowfall”-like online stories and only a couple have been distracting to me. Plus, I suspect they play better on an iPad than they do on a laptop.
So, what do you think? At what point, does the “Snowfall” approach distract from the story?
What kind of feedback are you getting?
Mostly positive feedback so far.
I couldn’t agree more about the distraction problem. That’s the why the Twitter chatter was so puzzling: you’ll see that ours is way simpler than most. Nothing moves unless you tell it to move (words to live by!)
Take a look and tell me what you think. It’s a long story, but pretty incredible job of reporting here and in Dagestan, I think.
I agree: While the story does have an extended vertical scroll, there is no parallax scrolling, there are no moving images or embedded video or interactives.
This really isn’t a “Snowfall”-like presentation at all, as far as I can tell.
Seems like good, old-fashioned storytelling to me. So I’m baffled by the backlash. Did Ms. Moore read the same story that I read? What am I missing?