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Dan ArcherA virtual, interactive re-creation of the scene where Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, Missouri, will debut November 19 at Fusion's Rise Up conference in Washington, D.C.

The piece, which will be hosted on Fusion’s website after the screening, is made up of a series of Web comics and 3-D simulations.

The re-creation will allow users to explore the Canfield Green apartment complex where the shooting took place. As they navigate through the scene, users will search for variously colored beacons. Each beacon represents different eyewitness testimonies.

Dan Archer, a graphics journalist and 2014-2015 Reynolds Fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, created “Shot Down in the Show-Me State.”

“What makes this piece stand out from the existing coverage of the story is the deliberate juxtaposition of contrasting viewpoints to the events, all situated within a 3-D rendered, geographically accurate environment,” says Archer. “My goal was to problematize the nature of a single truth, and encourage users to make their own mind up about what happened that day.”

Users will have the opportunity to take a survey on whether the experience changed their original opinion on the case, and what that opinion might be.

Media organizations to showcase Archer’s piece

After the Rise Up conference, St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also plan to include or link to the piece on their websites. Other news organizations are invited to do the same, says Archer.

“Shot Down in the Show-Me State” is the first of many projects Archer plans to produce using a content management system specifically designed to turn around similar stories within a month.

As a Reynolds Fellow, Archer wants to collaborate with news organizations to help them transform text articles into interactive, graphic news pieces that can be viewed across multiple platforms.

A hope to reach young audiences

By “gamifying” a news event in this way, Archer hopes to target a millennial audience, as well as boost engagement.

“User testing of an early prototype showed an average experience duration of 20 minutes, which far exceeds standard metrics in the digital space,” says Archer.

Jennifer Nelson  
   
Senior Information Specialist


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