In this report we’ve endeavored to demonstrate alternative ways to write and present complex, fact-filled content in a way that can be more effective in reaching audiences — even those who are disinclined to believe the information.

We’ve also offered some recommendations for software and tools, and taken you behind the scenes in the creation of some of these presentations.

Now we’d like to see how you might use the advice from researchers, reporters, editors and visual artists. If you have created projects to more effectively present your accountability work — fact-checking, investigations, ongoing coverage of controversial or political issues — we’d like to showcase those in updates to this report. Please send a note to API’s Jane Elizabeth with a link to your project.

And if you’d like to create a new way to present accountability reporting but aren’t sure how to start or the best methods to use, or if you lack the necessary resources, we can help. Contact us to get started.

More to see

Tristan Ferne of BBC News Labs has created a list of 12 story forms in this Medium post, “Beyond 800 words: New digital story formats for news.”  See examples of all of them, from “scrollytelling” to data viz.”


We’re grateful to the following professionals for their input, time and feedback: Rick Crotts, Jay Rosen, Tali Sharot, Adam Playford, Caitlin Johnson, Eli Zhang, Tyler Fisher, Rebecca Harris, Doug Donovan, Len De Groot, Darla Cameron, Josh Awtry, Eric Umansky, Alicia Parlapiano, Keith Hammonds, Allison Lichter Joseph, Randy Yeip, Steve Myers, Cassandra Balfour, Sharon Moshavi, Shane Shifflett, Evan Ryan and Helje Solberg.

Jane Elizabeth is the American Press Institute’s senior manager for accountability journalism. Lori Kelley, a veteran visual journalist, is the art director at Seattle Business magazine. Julie M. Elman is a professor in Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication and author of Fear, Illustrated: Transforming What Scares Us.

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