A File is a collection of material that records the investigation of a single issue. It is made up of Stories, Actors, and Documents. Each File has two ways in which it can be read: The Unfolding Story; and the Curated Story. You can access all Files from the Global Menu. Here’s what all this means and how you can use it.
Stories are the narrative component of a File. The narrative is composed of both investigative and explanatory elements, interwoven with first-hand observations by reporters in the field.
Stories take different forms, like Features, where complex developments are followed over extended periods; or Case Studies, where a representative case is dissected and documented; or Interviews, where a conversation with a person whose views are quoted in a Feature is made available in full; or Reports, which follow secondary, though still important, developments.
At the end, each Story links to related Stories, Actors and Documents. By clicking on superscripted numbers, you can open explanatory side-notes. And by hovering over highlighted words, a Glossary definition will appear.
Actors are persons and institutions that drive events. As the material of an investigation takes shape, these persons and institutions are identified and succinct information on their activities is compiled and indexed. This information provides context to an Actor’s role within a Story. Actors offer an alternative, “character-centric” way of perusing a File.
Actors appear under Stories and Documents. When you click on an Actors card, their full info will appear, along with links to other Stories in which they play a role, and to Documents that are relevant to their activities.
Documents are primary sources of information: laws, decrees, directives, official reports, studies, etc.
Documents appear under Stories and Actors. A Document card provides succinct information on its contents. When you click on the card, you will find a link to where each Document was accessed, if available. Additionally, a copy of the Document itself is always hosted in The Manifold Files, which you can download.
Documents link back to related Stories and Documents, and also to relevant Actors.
The Unfolding Story
The Unfolding Story is one of the two ways a File can be read: it is a non-linear reading mode, where the reader can make their own way through the Stories, Actors and Documents, and delve deep into the investigation.
Stories provide an upper, narrative level, with further layers of information appearing the deeper a reader goes. Under each Story, the reader can find related Stories — for example, a Feature may be linked to Interviews, where views mentioned in the Story are expanded upon, or Case Studies, where developments described in the Story are examined in detail. Each Story links, moreover, to Actors that drive events described in it; and to Documents, where the raw facts can be located. Actors then link to more Stories and Documents, and Documents in turn to more Actors and Stories.
New and Updated Stories always appear at the top of The Unfolding Story homepage, and there are several filters a reader can use to navigate by Chapter (a wide thematic category within a File), by Theme (a more specific thematic category, akin to a tag), by Location (where events in a Story take place), or by Rubric (the “kind” a Story belongs to, i.e. Feature, Interview etc).
The Curated Story
The Curated Story is the other of the two ways a File can be read: it is a linear reading mode, where the reader can follow Curated Paths through the narrative of a File.
In the Curated Story mode, we have pre-selected Stories and curated them into reading sequences, which we call Curated Paths. The logic of this curation is thematic, and all the reader has to do is choose a Path from The Curated Story homepage, and start following it to read one Story after another.
In the Curated Story mode, all the Actors and Documents disappear, in order to create a distraction-free reading environment, that allows the reader to immerse themselves in the narrative. But one can always switch to the original Story at any moment by clicking the link on the upper right, and make related Actors and Documents reappear. Clicking “Exit” takes the reader back to The Unfolding Story homepage; and clicking the File title takes the reader to the File homepage.
The Global Menu is the little burger shape that always appears on the upper left. By clicking it, you can access all Files. You can also access Actors and Documents across Files, meaning the complete repository of persons, institutions and source documents in the website. Finally, you can access the Glossary, which includes definitions for terms from all the Files.