News site uses interactivity to delve into Syrian conflict

by Alaa Chehayeb
Oct 30, 2018 in Specialized Topics

As the conflict in Syria approaches the two-year mark, a group of journalists are aiming to "add greater clarity, deeper understanding, and more sustained engagement to the global conversation."

The website Syria Deeply is reporting in depth on all aspects of the crisis, from the role of global leaders to the daily toll of upheaval and violence on the country and its people.

The website's founder, Lara Setrakian said in an interview that “the idea for the site came from when I was observing the Syrian situation for work." She believed the American public misunderstood the situation in Syria, and she wanted to cover it in more depth.

An Armenian-American, Setrakian said she has family in Syria and worked in the Middle East for five years for ABC and Bloomberg. She built a team of six people to manage the grant-funded site full time. She has also enlisted part-time site managers and many volunteers.

The elegant and user-friendly site offers a deep look into the issues surrounding the Syrian conflict. It makes good use of multimedia tell this complex story. It publishes a new story daily from inside Syria and refugee camps, written by specialists in the field. The site uses SoundCloud to publish music and other audio files.

On its interactive “Conflict Timeline,” Syria Deeply chronicles the important events of the crisis. “The Regime” presents files and documents relating to the ruling regime in Syria, “The Opposition” presents information on the variety of opposing groups currently in the country. “Global Players” shows a video exploring the roles world powers have played in events in Syria.

The site's interactive map, using the Ushahidi platform, presents information on the most-watched videos on YouTube, the numbers of refugees in neighboring countries that border Syria, the number of people killed in each region, and videos that show different angles and testimonials from people in Syria.

Syria Deeply has launched a donation campaign on IndieGoGo in order to improve and develop the work on the site.