A big part of my job at PublicSource is about connecting people to stories through creating experiences online.

As PublicSource’s Interactives & Design Editor, I work at the intersection of journalism, design and technology to make your experience with news and information more enjoyable and entertaining. Your support makes innovative stories and design possible. Right now, all gifts are being doubled by The Fine Foundation.

One of the signature projects I worked on this year was designing and developing the website for our collaborative series, Good River: Stories of the Ohio. Supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the National Geographic Society, the series focuses on the environment, economy and culture of the Ohio River watershed, produced by seven nonprofit newsrooms spanning five of the 15 watershed states.

Natasha Vicens shows a PublicSource T-shirt all $50+ donors can receive this year-end.

I developed the website and project brand with Louisville Public Media developer Alexandra Kanik (formerly of PublicSource!). When we set out to design the project, we knew we faced a unique challenge: a watershed is not something people identify with or generally even know about. Our goal was to create a visual space to pull people into stories and display the project’s fabulous multimedia elements — including maps, 360 videos, radio stories, documentary video and photo essays. Some of my favorite design elements from the series include the project’s cool color palette, the wavy line dividers that create subtle movement and intrigue across the site and the scrollable map on the landing page.

Another highlight of my year was getting to work with our fantastic data and design interns. I worked closely with the talented Nora Mattson, an information systems major at Carnegie Mellon University, to stitch together a data page for the Covering Climate Now series, a global collaboration of more than 300 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story. Most recently, I loved working and learning from Remy Davison, PublicSource’s first design intern. Remy graduated earlier this year from CMU with a degree in communications design and has created marketing materials for PublicSource, data visualizations and lead art for stories.

Your donation to PublicSource will help us produce more important visual journalism that gives you, our readers, a more innovative and enjoyable storytelling experience.

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This fact-based local reporting drives impact and creates change. Help power that impact.

James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” PublicSource exists to help the Pittsburgh region face its realities and create opportunities for change. When we shine a light on inequity in our region, like the “completely unacceptable” conditions in low-income housing in McKeesport, things change. When we ask questions about policymakers’ decisions, like how Allegheny County is handling COVID-19 safety for its employees, things change. When we push for transparency on issues that affect the public, like in the use of facial recognition software by Pittsburgh police, things change.

It takes a lot of time, skill and resources to produce journalism like this. Our stories are always made available for free so that they can benefit the most people, regardless of ability to pay. But as an independent, nonprofit newsroom, we count on donations from our readers to support this crucial work. Can you make a contribution of any amount (or better yet, set up a recurring monthly gift) to help ensure we can continue to report on what matters and tell stories for a better Pittsburgh?

Natasha is PublicSource's creative director. She runs the organizations visuals team, edits and produces interactive graphics, data visualizations and web packages for PublicSource. She manages the website...