What is this Last Graph thing?
"The Last Graph' is a literary device, a tool for people who want to tell engaging stories.
What's it do?
Our tool helps storytellers (particularly journalists) transform the last paragraph of every story into a heroic epic where the readers are the protagonists.
It's not really. We host a big database of 'actions.' Each action, is a way for readers to interact with the stories they've read. Some actions are complicated, some are simple.
We plan to let anyone create an action, but it's up to the storyteller to pick one that fits her/his story.
When an author chooses an action, we turn it into a paragraph that s/he can easily embed on a webpage. We keep track of how many people perform each action and we use that information to continually update the story.
Can I see an example?
Yes. We've got a simple example on our HOMEPAGE
and soon we'll have a blog full of examples for you to see and try out.
Sign me up, I'm ready to use this in a story.
HURRAY! We are so stoked that you're on board... but we aren't quite ready for you yet. Please sign up for access to the private Beta. You can do this from the action at the bottom of the HOMEPAGE
OK, but what's the catch? Why are you doing this?
We think it's really important for journalists to ask the question "How can my audience affect this story." When journalists ignore that question, they treat their audience as passive observers.
We don't think that kind of deterministic storytelling resonates with people. People are active participants in their surroundings and they want to be treated that way. The internet has made it easier than ever to affect people and problems a world away. We think journalism should reflect that.
This project has been a labor of love, it may eventually be a non-profit or a company. We'd like to make it financially sustainable, but we're not looking to profiteer. We also believe in action in a neutral way. We'll never support one particular cause over another.
Wait isn't this 'Activism?'
Well that's a deep question, but we'll try to give you a simple answer.
In short... no.
We think journalists will be able to use our tool without crossing into big 'A' activism. Actions can take many forms, they may be as simple as following the experts quoted in a story or writing a letter of condolence to a victim.
In more polarized stories, a storyteller might present opposing actions or *gasp* find an action that supports a middle ground.
Eventually we'd like to allow non-profits and public interest groups to contribute to our database, but we will always be transparent about actions and make it clear who has designed them.
If there is interest among the community, we'd even like to support discussions about which actions are most powerful or helpful.
What's with your logo?
This ¶ symbol is called a 'pilcrow.' It's a typographic mark that indicates the start of a new thought or paragraph.
Fun fact: to type a pilcrow, hold down the option key (alt key on windows) and type a number 7. You real nerds can read more about the humble pilcrow in this article
from Smithsonian Magazine.
We want you!
An innovator and a journalist, Ben has guided the launch of award winning editorial products at Al Jazeera English and The Washington Post. He's an accomplished video journalist and not a bad web developer, but his mother is most proud of his brief appearance (at 2:00) on The Daily Show in 2006.
Ben tweets at @BCatSF and blogs at the Benja-blog.
Emi Kolawole ¶
Emi is a multi-media professional with over a decade of experience. She has worked in television, web and print media. The founding editor of the Innovations section of The Washington Post, Emi was invited to serve as the editor-in-residence at the d.school at Stanford University, where she currently works on innovations in storytelling around the application of design thinking.
Emi tweets at @emikolawole.
Leah L. Culler ¶
Leah is a longtime word nerd with a decade of experience as a newspaper editor, including at The Washington Post and The Seattle Times. She runs Culler Copy a freelance writing and editing business.
Your Name Here ¶
This is a passion project so it's just our little band of volunteers at the moment. However, the Last Graph is gearing up for big things and looking for help.
It's strictly volunteer positions at this stage, but it shouldn't require much. We're looking for advisors who we can occasionally call/email for insights, feedback and advice. In return we'll list you here as an advisor. If things go well, you'll be our first stop for employees and board members. If you'd like to work with the team,
send a note to .