Shots in the Dark

Shots in the Dark

2011 • TimesLedger Newspapers

I built a website for an in-depth reporting project to find and share the untold stories of murder victims in Queens, New York, during a year when violent crime rates increased dramatically across the city. Our team won First Place for Best Use of Multimedia from the New York Press Association in 2011.

the Google Map and databases

The central component was the Google map of all the crime scenes, which brought together all of our reporting on each incident (sometimes even getting the notoriously press-unfriendly NYPD to release the victim's names was newsworthy).

I designed the databases that contained the content and geodata and built the site in PHP. Map interactions fire off AJAX functions to fetch the relevant editorial content and replot the map if necessary. 

map interface img

I incorporated data exploration tools into the map, including a lookahead search by victim name and filters that allow users to narrow the plotted data according to salient details such as precinct, neighborhood, age of the victim and others.

look and feel

An austere design lets the powerful images dominate. I also incorporated more elegant typography by using Google Webfonts for headings.