Through a case study on the Raleigh Arts Plan, CoVER investigates how readers’ ideas and interactions can shape an online news experience. With a digital-first approach to news design, the project explores how integrated storytelling can establish a conversation between reader and story. CoVER uses a visual overlay of reader interaction, multimedia and shared experiences to inform and engage readers. In addition to designing the news platform, I wrote and photographed all material about the Raleigh Arts Plan. Engaging in the reporting process exercised skills from my journalism minor and gave me insight into how to best design the story. Read the full story on the Raleigh Arts Plan here
Users can toggle between Read and CoVER for different views of the content. Read is a more formal view intended for reading. CoVER overlays the content with reader interaction, adding a participatory element to the story. CoVER features clusters of feedback from each node, a live stream of related Tweets, photo and graphics slideshows and a comments dialogue. 
The article is designed for a continuous scroll web page. The story is broken up after every five or six paragraphs by a large photo or infographic. Smaller photos are set in the text. The left side bar features tweets and press releases from the Office of Raleigh Arts. The right side bar features the five main goals of the plan featured on the its webpage. 
The CoVER view has a more fluid layout anchored by the main graphic elements in the Read view. A thematic map outlines the content. Visuals are dominated by circular, duotone photos and smaller blurbs of text.
The Raleigh Arts Plan story encompasses three major themes: Down to Business, What’s Next and Arts & Culture. These themes are represented by the color of the nodes throughout the content or the story header. CoVER traces these themes across the page, creating a thematic map of how readers can move through the content from every angle. 
The Office of Raleigh Arts hosted a series of open meetings and forums to gather research and feedback about the local arts community. I participated in these events by taking photos, writing notes and sharing ideas. I compiled my coverage into a story package within CoVER’s online news platform.
Duotones and color overlays categorize headers into the three major themes and call out key areas in the image. The story package includes three headers, each suited for a different theme. 
Nodes placed after paragraphs and visual elements in the story allow readers to comment within the content instead of at the end. Readers can add their opinion using a plus or minus, tag the content and share a comment. After they share, they can view contributions from other readers.
Survey results are introduced to readers by posing the survey question represented in the data. This approach allows the readers to place their response in the context of the data. The graph is followed by a relevant quote, coupling a name and idea with the results. 
Research: The ong form journalism concept map highlights where different media entities intersect and where interventions can be made. 
Research: The digital first journey map shows how readers access digital content and how online news can lead readers back to print.