The People vs. Rubber Bullets

Can high-quality journalism stop a bullet?

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Long Lead is focused on finding, funding, producing, and publishing in-depth, longform journalism. Decimal’s third collaboration with the story studio showcases the revelatory reporting of Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, stunning original and historic photography, and a captivating multimedia website. The six-part feature tells the full, brutal story of kinetic impact projectiles and their usage. Aiming to impact the national conversation on less-lethal munitions, “The People vs. Rubber Bullets” commemorates the victims of these weapons and demonstrates how over the past 50 years they have been tragically misused by U.S. law enforcement.

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Getting readers’ attention

Long Lead is competing against established, legacy publications that have made large investments in producing journalism at high volumes. Long Lead operates very differently, painstakingly producing relatively few stories but with unrivaled depth. As a result, their stories’ designs must surprise and delight readers to capture and keep their attention. To that end, we designed the site to open with a video — shot with an ultra high-speed camera — of a rubber bullet decimating a cantaloupe. We sliced the video into frames and made it responsive to user input, putting the power of less-lethal weapons at readers’ fingertips.

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In-depth journalism

The site’s navigation is evocative of legal briefs and binders. Each of the six stories in this feature can be read independently or as part of the broader package. To break up long runs of copy, we created “folios” that flip the text as well as image placements that alternate from one column to the other, keeping the reader fresh and engaged during this production.

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A history of violence

In addition to the six-part feature, we designed a visual timeline that chronicles how these policing tools first came into being and then slowly took over law enforcement’s crowd control tactics, providing crucial historic context to the story.

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  • Alex Muñoz
  • Alfredo Gago
  • Barbara Skrodzka
  • Cherif Zouein
  • Guillermo Brotons
  • Kevin Blanco


  • Jared Soares
  • Lyndon French
  • Will Matsuda


  • Blue Tape Projects


  • Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Long Lead

  • Alex Thebez
  • Amelia Lang
  • Charlotte Rymar
  • Dan Eisner
  • EJ Fox
  • Emily Keegin
  • Eoin O'Carroll
  • Heather Muse
  • John Patrick Pullen
  • Kevin Smets
  • Natalie Matutschovsky
  • Rebecca Holland
  • Sarah Rogers
  • Sonia Weiser