At ProPublica, we often cover topics that are not only critically important but also mind-bendingly complex. (CDOs, anyone?) To help readers follow along, we frequently back up a step and offer primers, FAQs, and backgrounders. We'll do whatever it takes to make it easier to follow along, including a comic and a Broadway song. And that same thinking applies whether we're explaining one of our own stories or an important accountability story in the news.
That's why we're excited to announce a partnership with NYU's Carter Journalism Institute and professor Jay Rosen to explore how we can use the web to do better explanatory journalism.
The project will extend through the remainder of the 2010-11 academic year. During that time Jay and his students will be researching best practices and will work with us to build some model explanatory pieces based around one of our investigations.
As Jay put it, "The goals of the project are to improve the art of explanation at ProPublica's site and to share what is learned with the journalism community."