Eight pages, 14,000 words: How the Boston Globe re-told the story of April 15, 2013

Last week, the team at the Boston Globe set out with a goal to provide its readers a complete re-telling of the events surrounding the bombings that shook the city. The print work, accompanied by an interactive,  was designed by Robert Davis. Here, he shares about the process that went into generating this special section.

Last Tuesday, we had nothing but an idea and a goal: Paint a clear picture of the astounding events of the week of April 15. The ever-changing nature of the story of the Marathon bombings meant the truth was garbled and questions still loomed large. We wanted to set the record straight and spotlight the massive law enforcement effort. The final product, “102 HOURS IN PURSUIT” did that — and much more.

As the reporters fanned out, our intrepid graphics staff began mapping out the week, choosing a striking hand-drawn style in which to portray Friday’s dramatic climax. Chiqui EstebanDavid ButlerJames Abundis, and Patrick Garvin tackled the huge assignment, updating the graphics in print and online with new information up until the last minute.

Photographically speaking, we faced some difficult presentation challenges. We faced no shortage of good content, so the goal became finding images that were compelling but not too familiar. And there was a premium placed on images that hadn’t run before. By this point, we had published hundreds of photos in print and online, but the project’s photo editor, Lloyd Young, did a remarkable job of sorting through the images and picking out the gems. He and I worked very closely to map out the section, organizing images and paying close attention to the pacing.

Page design had to remain flexible; the story was being written up until the last minute and its final length waxed and waned throughout the afternoon. All the while, the section’s copy editor, Dave Richwine, maintained his cool and handled this project with skill.

The final product was one massive story (14,000 words) that filled eight clear pages. Nearly 40 journalists contributed to this project, and we bylined the story “BY THE STAFF OF THE BOSTON GLOBE.” It really felt like a team effort — and I couldn’t have been prouder to be a member of that team.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe's special section, "102 Hours In Pursuit." Click to view a larger image.

A look at the Boston Globe’s special section, “102 Hours In Pursuit.” Click to view a larger image.

(Kyle Ellis is a designer for CNN Digital in Atlanta and digital director for the Society for News Design.)