The Prophets of Oak Ridge

September 2013

This presentation was a successful collaboration between all visual teams at The Post. The template is fully responsive and powered by WordPress.

My contribution: Directed UX and design, collaborated on art direction

The Prophets of Oak Ridge is a beast. It's a 10,000 word, incredibly well-written, and creative story of three activists who broke into a nuclear-weapons facility in Tennessee. When Dan Zak presented his ideas about how he wanted to tell the story, the visual teams at The Post knew it was an amazing opportunity to design a special, highly visual presentation.

No standard site template was going to accommodate this story and give it the presentation it deserved. We decided to create something from scratch, based on some of the new things we developed and learned from our presentation of 'Cycling's Road Forward'.

The story had an unusual complexity to the narrative. The writer wanted to weave together flashbacks of the night the crime took place with where each character is today. Jumping back in time to the night of the break-in was posing a challenge to visually represent – it was the perfect opportunity to work with an illustrator to bring that part of the story to life. My colleague Janet Michaud led efforts to work with Jeffrey Smith, an amazingly talented illustrator.

Every other chapter (and there are 15 total) jumps between modern day, then back to the night that changed these people's lives. They jump between photographs and illustrations helping to guide the reader through the complexity of the narrative.

Here's how it all looked on smaller screens:

For additional background on the presentation and to learn more about the process and technology behind this project, read an article I co-authored with Janet Michaud for SND: Behind the scenes designing WaPo’s ‘The Prophets of Oak Ridge’ and listen to Journalism.co.uk's podcast that I participated in called 'Snow Fall and beyond: A look at long-form online storytelling'.

And of course, you must read this story! Here's a link to the project: The Prophets of Oak Ridge

Hat tip to the entire team for making this such a special and successful story: Dan Zak, Ann Gerhardt, Janet Michaud, Andrew Metcalf, Tim Wong, Brian Cleveland, Kat Downs, Jesse Lewis, Linda Davidson, Anne Farrar, Dee Swann, Sarah L. Voisin, Laris Karklis, Todd Lindeman, and Jeffrey Smith.