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Southern Poverty Law Center

A venerable human rights organization leverages investigative journalism and data to eradicate hate.

  • Editorial |
  • Design |
  • Development

The Challenge

The SPLC needed to upgrade its editorial principles, publishing process, and database infrastructure to better support its team in its fight to eradicate hate.

The Journey

We developed an editorial playbook that codifies the newsroom’s daily operations, workflow, policies, and style. We also worked with the SPLC’s researchers and developers to reimagine the database they use to track hate across the internet.

The Solution

  • New editorial workflows that optimize for content depth and quality
  • An editorial playbook that guides journalists tracking extremism
  • A product strategy that enhances the SPLC’s database platform

Empowering the journalism that eradicates hate in America

For 40 years, the SPLC has been doing the taxing work of hacking and exposing the activities of hate groups throughout the United States. Through resources such as its investigative reporting, the Hatewatch blog, and the Hate Map, which filters hate groups by location, the SPLC has assembled one of the most comprehensive examinations of domestic extremism. The nonprofit’s team of reporters, researchers, and editors is currently tracking and reporting on more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country. They do this by publishing in-depth articles on hate group activity, training law enforcement officers and sharing key intelligence, and offering expert analysis to the media and public.

They are a modest-sized team filling an outsized need.

 

Long Dash worked with the SPLC to develop, articulate, and socialize guidelines and tools to support its editorial and research teams and empower them in their important work.

EDITORIAL STRATEGY

Defining workflows and codifying SPLC’s editorial standard

We began our work by exploring the ins and outs of the SPLC’s newsroom. We spoke to key stakeholders, including the journalists contributing to the Intelligence Report, the SPLC’s publication monitoring hate groups in the U.S. We embedded with the team, reviewed their content, and experienced their workflows. Through these efforts, we identified key challenges and untapped opportunities across three key areas:

 

  • Editorial Guidelines
  • Editorial Workflow
  • Content Quality

 

Our project culminated in an SPLC-branded editorial playbook to inform the newsroom’s daily operations. The playbook includes proven editorial practices from The Atlantic and other content powerhouses on:

 

  • Positioning and style
  • Resources and workflow
  • Templates and tools
  • Policies and best practices

 

The playbook is customized to the specific needs, ambitions, and working rhythms of the SPLC and its newsroom. We also worked with the SPLC to apply those recommendations in practice.

PRODUCT STRATEGY

Redesigning a database infrastructure and user interface into a valuable tool

The SPLC’s research team was using an outdated database to analyze and track hate across the internet. This database had begun to hamstring their efforts and presented a significant design and technology challenge to overcome.

 

We worked side by side with their team to design a product strategy and user experience to overhaul the database and give researchers valuable time back. We didn’t stop there—we also equipped the team with the tools and workflows they needed to do their work on the new database effectively. We guided them through a comprehensive change management process that encouraged transparency, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration. The SPLC estimates a significant decrease in hard costs as a result of our efforts to migrate and upgrade the database.

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