'I am you:' American Muslims on faith -- and fear

'I am you:' American Muslims on faith -- and fear

Organisation: CNN (United States)

Publication Date: 04/11/2016


Size of team/newsroom:large


In a time of terrorism, a sharp focus has been placed on the American Muslim. There are about 3 million Muslims living in the United States -- approximately one percent of the country's population. Studies show that many Americans don't know much about their Muslim neighbors, which prompted CNN to ask Muslims living in the U.S. via social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to share whether they have faced challenges practicing their religion, especially with the rise of ISIS and anti-Muslim rhetoric by 2016 presidential hopefuls. Hundreds of audience members contributed stories, sharing their perspective on living in the U.S., and the struggles they have faced trying to prove their love for their country, and also their faith. Out of the hundreds of user-generated pieces that were submitted, five stories were featured in the "Muslims in America" project, a digital enterprise piece that uses data and personal accounts to share what its like to be an American Muslim.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

The "Muslims in America" project humanizes data through personal storytelling. One goal for this project was to make the information accessible to audiences on digital, social and mobile platforms. For example, a version of this project was custom designed for CNN's Snapchat Discover Channel, which highlighted data and human stories through interactive snaps that audiences could save or share with their friends. This project also utilized quizzes and surveys on CNN's mobile app in order to share this content in a new way to readers. This project was distributed across multiple platforms in order to engage audiences while presenting thought-provoking, data-driven content. The project prompted discussions on social media, especially on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Through those off-platform channels, audiences shared and commented on the story, creating a robust social dialogue.

Technologies used for this project:

The user-generated content was collected via CNN's iReport platform. The personal stories featured in the piece were curated. The data featured in this project was illustrated in an animated video (Adobe Premiere + Illustrator). One of the biggest goals of this project was to start a conversation on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. CNN used Snapchat's Discover channel to create a platform-specific presentation of the project (Adobe After Effects). The digital story was built on a custom template (Html+css).


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