On Sunday, CNN.com published a special story, both in content and design. A culmination of nearly a year and a half of work from CNN Digital staff, “The Gift of Charles” is about a young boy who died from brain cancer and spent his last 16 days in a child hospice center with his entire family. Parents Forest and Tremica Thompson invited CNN digital reporter Wayne Drash and digital content producer Brandon Ancil to spend six days in the hospice alongside the family. Drash and Ancil were with them around the clock, documenting the family’s experience, and interviewing all of the Thompsons as well as the staff at the George Mark Children’s House. The Thompsons hope their story will help others who are dealing with similar issues.
In addition to being a heartfelt piece, CNN Digital used a “digital magazine” format, a powerful long-form storytelling tool that fuses video, text and photography. The visual presentation has the look and feel of a magazine, containing photos and two videos embedded into the text. The story also has sidebars with contextual information about the family, the hospice, and palliative care in America. CNN Digital began using this new design template earlier this year for a story about slavery in Mauritania.