Blake Hunsicker 🇺🇸

Journalist and designer | blakehunsicker@gmail.com

Video and news design

Notes

Notes is the Post's annotation system (here's one serious and one fun example).

What we've tried out: two tests, and now two versions.

I've been working on Notes since the early ideation stage. The original plan, which was too ambitious to do all at once, was: to automatically embed supplementary information into articles based on a user's reading history (dynamically compiled, too!). We ultimately broke down the product into smaller iterations-- first, we created an annotation tool for the newsroom. Then, we used it on several major stories to see what worked and what didn't.

Now, we're creating a design for wider use-- an admin that will accomodate APIs, richer designs, and embed rules that we hope will eventually allow the newsroom to set guidelines for how and when their supplementary notes will appear across the site.

Press:

How The Washington Post built — and will be building on — its “Knowledge Map” feature - Nieman Lab

Context is built into a story in The Washington Post’s experimental “Knowledge Map” - Nieman Lab

The Washington Post adds context to the news with ‘Knowledge Map’ - Poynter

‘Structured journalism’ offers readers a different kind of story experience - Columbia Journalism Review

March Madness Brackets

Article Translate

Latest example: Here’s what it’s like to be a Russian TV political talk show host

Early case: Why do American elections last so long?

This project came together in the best way possible-- spontaneously, by conversation. And editor told me that she wanted to be able to translate Zika stories. I made a quick mockup and, after getting it approved, found developers and the project took off. I ended up playing a small role here, in the beginning. But I am very proud to have been at the groundfloor of this project, which didn't just get used for Zika stories-- it was ready in time for the Post to translate some of our early election coverage coverage into, at times, up to 5 languages.

Press:

The Washington Post is dabbling in translations to reach a growing non-English speaking audience - Nieman Lab

SyriaFAQ

I designed and developed SyriaFAQ as part of my thesis project in NYU’s Studio 20 grad program.

At the Öncüpınar border gate.

I raised the money and handled the logistics to travel to the Turkish-Syrian border to film for the project.

At the time, I was a research fellow at News Deeply. Their pilot site, Syria Deeply, had just launched and I was tasked with researching article templates. I was interested primarily in how they could flesh out their background sections that explained the conflict, the modern history of Syria and the context of the Arab Spring.

I had a number of influences, but settled on using a FAQ to frame the interviews I conducted in Turkey. I knew what questions the FAQ would have ahead of time, and collected answers from real Syrians who’d just left the country.

Deepreader

I designed and developed Deepreader as part of my thesis project in NYU’s Studio 20 grad program.

The deepreader outline.

I was heavily influenced by early bloggers like Dave Winer and Doc Searls, who both offered me feedback and advice as I researched article UI ideas during my last semester in school.

At the time, I was a research fellow at News Deeply. Their pilot site, Syria Deeply, had just launched and I was tasked with researching article templates. I was interested primarily in how they could flesh out their background sections that explained the conflict, the modern history of Syria and the context of the Arab Spring.

I wanted to create an article UI that allowed users to dive into the subjects that most interested them without leaving the page. After much trial and error making overly-extravagant templates (think parallax, sideways scrolling, etc.) the best solution was the simplest one— an outline.

Ideally, the explainer outline would be maintained and kept up to date, like the rest of their background section. Ultimately it wasn’t adopted because they weren’t sure that they wanted to dedicate the time to maintaining it and restructuring it as the subject itself changed. But I’m still proud of it and think it could work well if used in the proper setting.