The Guardian has been pumping humanity back into journalism with interactive storytelling all year long, and we’re loving it. We were watching earlier this year when the British daily newspaper launched Firestorm, an interactive story of a Tansanian wildfire that comes to life online as you scroll through its pages. But this month, NSA Files: Decoded tackles the big nebulous drama of the Edward Snowden leaks and delivers to the reader the crux of the story: “what the revelations mean for you.” The story combines text, information graphics, sound, video, and photos in a synchronized, graphically stunning dance that keeps readers connected throughout the whole 6,000+ word story. Sources come alive with talking heads that animate as you scroll, bringing emotion and clarity to a convoluted story with many moving parts. The story is told in vivid, thorough detail by Ewen Macaskill and Gabriel Dance, with impeccable production value by Feilding Cage and Greg Chen.
The beauty of engaging scrollable stories like this one, Firestorm and Snowfall, is their capacity to democratize information: to capture new readers who wouldn’t have been paying attention otherwise. With interactive bells and whistles that are both elegant and substantive, news outlets build hype around hard-hitting stories to bring them to the masses. Go see it for yourself.