Path of a predator

Timeline of Kevin Ricks' teaching career

After a long week & weekend of wrapping up the Top Secret America project, we hit the ground running with a project that came out today about local teacher Kevin Ricks. A four-month Washington Post investigation of his career revealed a pattern of abuse that goes back to at least 1978 and has a trail of victims that spans the globe. Reporters Josh White, Jennifer Buske, Michael Chandler and Blaine Harden worked on the story, which was just a great piece of reporting. Go read it!

The timeline tells the story through each place Ricks has been, including maps and a list of schools where he worked in each place. It also has audio clips from a hearing where a German student tried unsuccessfully to get a restraining order against Ricks, and myspace messages that Ricks wrote.

This graphic was done using jQuery and CSS. It uses the ColorBox jQuery plugin for the lightbox effect. The audio players are the only Flash pieces in the project — they’re standard across the site (I built them about a year ago). So check it out on your iPad 🙂

Top Secret connections

After a full year of working on various aspects of the Top Secret America project, we have finally launched! Check out the full project at

Network connections: Who's involved in the most types of work?
Who's involved in the most types of work?

I worked on a whole bunch of aspects of this project and did a lot of brainstorming and storyboarding, but my primary focus was the interactive “network connections” graphic. In the beginning we wanted to create a graphic that illustrated the redundancy and size of Top Secret America and had a ton of data in it, while not being overwhelming. Read more »

A look at the life of an alleged spy

The spy next door?
The spy next door?

Last week, after the news broke that one of the 10 alleged Russian spies arrested by the FBI most recently lived and worked in Arlington, Va., Ben de la Cruz came up with the idea to do some panos of the scenes where the alleged spy lived his life. We talked through how we’d like to present it and how the story would flow through the audio and panos. Then Ben worked with Alex Garcia to shoot and stitch the panos and he wrote and recorded the narration. I put together the piece in a slideshow format, with audio and a pano for each location on the map. It took about 6 hours of my time to put together. It’s a nice little piece that’s a window into the life of a spy — something we’re all very curious about.