In the year following the horrific February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, 1,200 children were killed by guns in the United States. But while the Parkland shooting made headlines for weeks, many of these other young victims received little attention. Now, an interactive website called Since Parkland aims to tell each one of their stories. The Trace, a digital news organization that covers gun violence, teamed with the Miami Herald and 200 teenage reporters to gather as much information as possible about each child, sourcing mostly from online obituaries, GoFundMe campaigns, and social media accounts. Some of the more advanced young journalists also reached out to the kids’ family members and friends. The teens “bring with them an undeniable moral weight to their reporting,” says Akoto Ofori-Atta (below, second from right), The Trace’s managing editor, who led the project.
Since Parkland conveys the sheer enormity of the loss of these 1,200 young people, but it also celebrates their lives. The website, designed by the studio Upstatement and launched a year after the shooting, sorts obituaries by a defining part of each young victim: that she was a jokester, a promising athlete, a sibling, a friend. The stories appear in a randomized fashion as you scroll through the site, and users can also search by name or state. Some of the entries have pictures, and the children who don’t have one are represented by a star shape algorithmically determined by the person’s age, the number of letters in their name, and other attributes. “It furthered the mission of this project: to drive home the uniqueness of each and every one of these young people,” Ofori-Atta says. The project was shared by politicians like Chuck Schumer and Gabrielle Giffords, and Since Parkland’s website received nearly half a million page views during the launch week.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.