Web Design

 

3-part series: 'Other Than Honorable'

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The first story in the series published in The Colorado Springs Gazette and at gazette.com in May 2013

About the series
This 3-part Gazette series is an in-depth investigation that shows an increasing number of soldiers, including wounded combat veterans, are being kicked out of the service for misconduct, often with no benefits, as the Army downsizes after a decade of war. The investigation followed the lives of three Fort Carson soldiers who faced other-than-honorable discharges. The Army has curtailed the use of other-than-honorable discharges since the 2013 investigation showed the practice deprived wounded combat veterans of medical benefits, records show. Read the complete series 

My design process 
I was the sole designer on a team of eight editors and journalists producing The Gazette’s “Other than Honorable” series for print and digital platforms. I worked side-by-side with a web developer to create the digital presentation, while also incorporating feedback from the reporter, lead photographer and editor. The team and I collaborated on every aspect of this series. That included engaging in multiple brainstorming and production scheduling sessions, contributing during several photo edits and leading conversations on data visualization opportunities. 

 

I designed numerous print options for each part of the series and I wrote suggested display type. These design options and suggestions were discussed in-depth with executive editors to ensure the overall presentation would instantly convey a compelling, yet emotional story about each soldier’s experience. The team and I were also heavily involved in producing the daily newspaper, so working early-morning and late-night hours was required. The project was published after 9 months of in-depth reporting and thorough visual storytelling development.

Design awards

  • First Place in Page Design in the 2014 Best of the West Journalism contest

  • First Place in Design in the 2014 Top of the Rockies Journalism contest

The first story in the series published in The Colorado Springs Gazette and at gazette.com in April 2019

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About the series
A team of Gazette journalists investigated Colorado’s broken mental health care system in a yearlong series. The team addressed the gaps in care for children, for veterans and for the community at large. The 18-part series reported on potential solutions as state officials and community leaders sharpen their focus on what for many is a vicious cycle of despair and ruin.
After the series was published, the Denver Foundation’s Colorado Health Access Fund awarded $8 million to behavioral health services in Colorado. The Gazette continues to report on this subject matter to keep the state informed. Read the complete series

My design process 
The editor appointed me to be the lead designer on The Gazette’s yearlong investigative series on mental health in Colorado. I was tasked with creating the series logo, building the series landing web page and designing the print and digital presentation for each story. I collaborated with reporters, photographers, videographers, digital editors and news editors to produce every story in this series.

 

My approach to develop the overall display for this project started with engaging in discovery sessions with the team. These sessions were an opportunity to discuss all moving parts and how each element would be presented to readers.

 

Short video documentaries were heavily utilized and incorporated throughout the entire series to show how the lack of mental health benefits affects real people in the community. I worked closely with the video editor to ensure these video stories would be easy to find and view for digital readers. I also visually highlighted key numbers, facts and lists of resources on how and where to seek mental help.
 

After the series was published, I also designed a reprint of the entire series in a 112-page glossy booklet. The printed product was distributed to news executives at Clarity Media Group, owners of The Gazette, during a quarterly company meeting.

Recognition

  • The investigative series was selected as a finalist for the 2020 National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation’s 26th Annual Print Journalism Award.

 

A digital story presentation in June 2017 at gazette.com, looking back at the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs

About the story
The Waldo Canyon fire was a forest fire that started approximately four miles northwest of Colorado Springs. on June 23, 2012, and was declared 100% contained on July 10, 2012. It left two people dead and was one of the most destructive fire in Colorado state history, as measured by the number of homes destroyed. Read the story

Multimedia award

  • Second place for Best Multimedia in the 2017 Colorado Press Association competition.

My design process 

As Design Editor of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, I took the lead in directing the visual design on this interactive online story presentation. Since we knew the five-year mark of this devastating fire was going to be a sensitive milestone for the Pikes Peaks community, I wanted to convey the story of hope and progress through visuals. I collaborated with the reporter and the photographer, who were assigned to cover the story. We discussed ideas on how the story would be presented to our digital audience. We decided that displaying a before and after approach would allow readers to see the rebuilding phase nearly complete. I teamed up with a web developer to create a photo slider to compare the before and after views of one of the neighborhoods that were nearly destroyed in the 2012 fire. I suggested using the iconic striking photo from the day of the fire as the dominate image to show how the community has been able to return after extreme devastation. Links to related stories and photo galleries also were a big part of the overall presentation to give readers the latest update on of the most deadliest fires in Colorado. 

An Ideal Marine

A digital story presentation published May 2017 at gazette.com, featuring a local Marine who committed suicide

About the story
A Marine who survived almost 300 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Noah Harter was a gifted high school athlete, talented musician and beloved member and only son of a military family. Depicted by those who knew him as paragon of what a Marine should be, he succumbed to suicide at age 25. The Gazette delved into the numbers behind veteran suicide and found a complicated web of younger vets suffering with PTSD. Read the story

My design process 

When I was approached by the editor about designing this online story presentation, I was unsure of the approach I was going to take at first. I knew I definitely wanted to give the story a bit of a different presentation, which required me to use my HTML and CSS skill set. Again, I collaborated with the reporter and the photographer assigned to this story. My ultimate approach was to use some of the crucial quotes and display type as art elements throughout the story. I created the photo illustration of paper being torn as the lead image to symbolize how suicide has ripped through the family of the 25-year-old Marine who had been suffering PTSD. I also worked alongside a web developer to ensure the digital presentation was responsive for all platforms.

 

Motion Web Graphic

This is one of many animation projects I completed while I attended the University of Denver

My design process 

When I was a graduate student at the University of Denver, I took coursework in motion web graphics and animation. For this project, we were assigned to create a cinemagraph in the form of an animated GIF. I used a 90-second stock video of a running waterfall and utilized the video tools within PhotoShop to loop one section of the waterfall continuously, while turning the other portion of the video into a static image.

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© 2020 Design by Stephanie Swearngin

Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado