Visualizing a tragedy

Reading and understanding a long list of people or events can often be challenging for readers, even with an engaging story. After the shooting of two children at the Holiday Inn-Civic Center last week, there was understandably a lot of interest in the background of the alleged shooter Demond Bluntson. Bluntson, of El Campo, Tex., is charged with three counts of capital murder in connection with the deaths of the two boys and their mother, Brandy Cerny.

Demond Bluntson / Webb County Sheriff’s Office

In a story last week (“Suspect has long history of charges,” June 21), my colleague Stephanie Ibarra and I used court documents, school records and social media to try to piece together a record of Bluntson’s past.

To help readers visualize that history and the succession of events at the hotel last Tuesday, I worked with Laredo Morning Times online editor Cristina Herrera on an interactive timeline that we published on our site Friday. Timeline JS, an open source software program, allowed us to display the narrative of Bluntson’s criminal past with a mix of photos, video, maps and original court documents. We hope using this kind of platform will help draw in readers who did not keep up with daily coverage and provide a deeper understanding of those who followed the story consistently.

Note: the article on Bluntson’s criminal history is behind a paywall but the timeline is not.


One comment

  1. Stephanie Dolansky-Mahathey · · Reply

    Just read this blogpost. Tragic incident happened while I was out of town. I’m an E-subscriber, but didn’t keep up with LMT daily. Just peaked at your timeline and it looks amazing. Looks like a lot of research/work went into this. Kudos to you and Cristina. Hope to look at it more closely and also look in to Timeline JS. Great tool for school kids!

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