"The 10 Worst Things About the Rehtaeh Parsons Rape Case" explains, in an accessible way, the story of a teen who was raped and then committed suicide after being subjected to merciless taunting from her peers and lack of action from the justice system.
When we created it, Anonymous was waging its #OpJustice4Rehtaeh campaign, and there was a surge of commentary about the case, but few if any crystal-clear explainers about what happened.
We asked ourselves how best to break it down, highlight the key elements, and make it relatable. What we came up with was this "10 worst things" approach.
It's a very strong example of what we do every day to make news enlightening, engaging, and empowering.Besides the fact that it's not by BuzzFeed? (We kid, we kid.)
Listicles sometimes get a bad rap for being lazy, overdone, vapid, dumbed-down, and click-bait-y. And they certainly can be.
But the listicle can also be a very useful format for breaking down something complex or unfamiliar and making it both accessible and shareable. That's what we aimed for here.
We punctuated and illustrated each item in the list with relevant tweets, photos, and infographics, showing that the case was the subject of much discussion, concern, and social action as well as part of a wider context.
That this listicle caught fire demonstrates the power of social media. It was published on a small, young digital news startup site on a shoestring budget. There was no marketing, no PR, no promotion. We simply shared it with our relatively small networks on Facebook and Twitter. Yet it has been shared over 600 times on various social networks and viewed more than 19,500 times to date. Average time on the page, according to Google Analytics, is 8 minutes. Those metrics -- views, shares, time -- all point to the piece being an authentic social sleeper hit.
We like to think "The 10 Worst Things About the Rehtaeh Parsons Rape Case" helped thousands of people understand and relate to this story, both for its own sake and because of how rampant bullying is among teens (often amplified, as in this tragic case, by tech and social media). The listicle both told the story and showed the deeper implications -- and clearly, it resonated.
We're proud that with this listicle, we reached a significant audience and spread the word about a serious, important story and issue.
Thank you for your consideration.
Susannah Griffee, Author
Holly Epstein Ojalvo, Editor