One of the main stories of 2013 was Edward Snowdon’s disclosure of mass surveillance by the American National Security Agency. The story had an immense impact, raising many fundamental questions about individual privacy and collective security. There were, however, also lots of technical and legal details that made it difficult to understand. That is why The Guardianhas put great effort into an interactive production of exceptional beauty entitled NSA Files: Decoded. What the revelations mean for you.The reason to present this stunning one-page interactive media production here, after it was first published in November, is that it undeniably shows the huge impact of design on new forms of news reporting. The web documentary is a beautiful blend of writing, video, and infographics using the latest web techniques to put everything together in a one-page scroll-down document.

Statements by experts, politicians and journalists start playing automatically when they appear on the screen, infographics react to mouse-over movements, leaked documents can be seen in different modes in separate screens within the main page, and illustrations reveal their information in different layers.

In everything we see the hand of clever information designers who, together with journalists, used all the digital techniques available to clarify one of the most difficult stories to tell of the past year. Earlier this year the interactive team worked with Dutch design graduate Daan Louter on the much-lauded production Firestorm. This is what storytelling, with the help of design, blossomed into in 2013. We are curious to know what 2014 will bring.

 

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