Canary: The Washington Post Investigates
The Post’s first long-form investigative podcast chronicles what it takes for survivors to step forward. After a sexual assault case in the District of Columbia, one woman's public warning ricochets all the way to Birmingham, Ala., where another woman gives voice to a devastating allegation about a powerful man in the D.C. criminal justice system.
My role was to design the landing page. In doing so, I hoped to mimic the powerful narrative and tone of the podcast itself. See the project at washingtonpost.com/canary.
Credits: Page design and development by Clare Ramirez; hosted by Amy Brittain; production by Reena Flores and Bishop Sand; project editing, art direction and logo design by Courtney Kan; logo illustration by Ariel Sun; photos by Jared Ragland and Salwan Georges; photo editing by Nick Kirkpatrick; design editing by Greg Manifold, Matthew Callahan, and Lucio Villa.
This project was recognized with an Award of Excellence at SND's Best of Digital Design competition.
Working with Established Branding
I was brought into the project at a point when the podcast's logo had already been decided by the team. I worked closely with the art director to use elements of the branding throughout the landing page, such as using a small feather to indicate section breaks within the text and incorporating the logo's main color blue into the background for consistency.
A project like this is sure to have many stakeholders, such as the audio producers, photo editor, story editors, and more. Along with the project editor and design editors, I had the task of taking each group's priorities and combine them into a purposeful design that makes sense both narratively and visually.
One priority for the audio producers, for example, was making sure readers knew they were looking at an audio-first project. My solution involved the following:
- Incorporating a fixed navigation bar at the top of the page to highlight our three biggest partners: Apple Music, Spotify, and Stitcher.
- Giving the readers the opportunity to listen to the podcast and read their transcripts after the initial title scroll. This allows them to immediately see all seven episodes before diving into the rest of the page itself.
- Placing "subscribe" buttons at the end of the page that link to different platforms where you can listen to the podcast.
Showcasing Visual Assets
Even though "Canary: The Washington Post Investigates" is an audio-first project, we also had visual assets that needed a home. As a result, the landing page contains photos that complement the narrative heard in the podcast. These assets include beautifully shot portraits of the two women featured in the podcast, Lauren Clark and Carole Griffin; photos of judge Truman Morrison; and old family photos provided by Carole.
I wanted to give readers on the landing page the chance to listen to clips of the podcast, so as to give a preview of what they could listen to in the full-length episodes. Here, audio clips of Lauren and Carole are paired with their striking portraits as well as the photos of when they met. My hope was that being able to hear their voices and see their photos at the same time would give a different but just as powerful effect that readers would get in listening to the full episodes. It was also an intentional decision to use audio clips of only Lauren and Carole to keep the focus entirely on them.
A few days after the podcast launched, we published another story about judge Truman Morrison resigning from his position at the D.C. Superior Court after receiving questions from The Post about the sexual assault allegations.
From the article: Judge Truman A. Morrison III admitted “sexual touching” of the teenager that was “totally inappropriate” and “wrongheaded” but said: “I certainly did not think that I ever forced myself on her.”
I designed the online and print layout for this story, which allowed us to promote the podcast in the Sunday newspaper.