(Video) How Using Animation Can Help Tell the Toughest Stories
January 16, 2014

How do you create a multimedia piece about a victim you want to help protect by not using the faces or voices of anyone involved?

Ryan Gabrielson ran into that problem while working on his “Broken Shield” series, published in California Watch in 2012, a site devoted to investigative journalism, about abuse in state developmental centers.

“Jennifer” was a young woman who was sexually assaulted while living at the facilities. The person who assaulted her was never caught, so her family was concerned about sharing her and their identities.

Carrie Ching, one of Gabrielson’s colleagues, had the idea of using animation and reading from the transcripts of the family members.

What resulted was the video “In Jennifer’s Room.”

The “Broken Shield” project won one of the Journalism Center on Families and Children’s 2013 Casey Medals.

  • Sean Henderson


  • Lisa Rossi

    I’d love to hear other examples where animation has worked in online storytelling. Post in this thread if you have any good ones and we may highlight them in AJR.org later.

  • Josh Davidsburg

    So this isn’t online and a little more traditional media, but I love this story & how Steve Hartman used kids’ drawings of the incident to tell the story when he didn’t have video of it: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-lunchroom-heroes/