Project description

On June 30, 1908, something came crashing down from the sky in Central Siberia causing a terrible explosion. That ‘something’ was not a meteorite, though it would later be indeed be labeled as such. It wasn’t an iron or stone body that struck the Earth’s surface from space, nor was it ‘fragments of meteor bodies’ which failed to burn up in the atmosphere, contrary to what the Great Soviet Encyclopedia says.


What makes this project innovative?

The project "Italia: The Airship Crash Chronicle" has quite a dramatic text supplemented with all kinds of multimedia elements. There are interactive infographics, maps, and a 3D-model of the airship. Several countries participated in this story: the USSR, Italy, France, Norway, and Sweden. So, our project is also a rare example of international cooperation, and what’s more, foreign colleagues actively helped us. This allowed us to confirm (or refute) the collected information and make the most reliable visualization.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

221,857 pageviews

TASS' Interactive special project ""Italia: The Airship Crash Chronicle"" received an award for the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards (Maps, Places & Spaces, Silver), International Infographic Awards Malofiej (Digital, Features, Bronze), Best of Digital Design Competition, SND (International, Story Page Design – News Features or Planned Coverage, Silver Medal), The Pudding Cup (Pay Tier, The best visual and data-driven stories of 2018), Golden site (Best single page, Gold).

Source and methodology

Exploring this story, we read a variety of memoir literature, left over from the victims, and from their rescuers, in particular the Russian sailors from the Krasin icebreaker. We also took the data for the project’s maps from the memoirs and logbooks. The model of the airship was drawn according to an illustration from the book of the researcher, Max Pinucci, which gave us all the support. In addition, we have repeatedly consulted with several international museums: the North Pole Expedition Museum in Svalbard, The Icebreaker Krasin Museum in St. Petersburg, the Italian Air Force Museum in Rome and Museum Umberto Nobile in Lauro, Italy. The relatives of the Italians injured in the crash were involved in the creation of the Italian version.

Technologies Used

Javascript, ScrollMagic.js, 3ds Max Thinking particles, Adobe After Effects,  Adobe Illustrator, QGIS

Project members

Project team:
Authors: Darya Donina, Timur Fekhretdinov
Editors: Alexander Bychkov, Sabina Vakhitova
Illustrator: Anastasia Zotova
3D-designer: Alexander Volkov
Art director: Anton Mizinov
Translator: Andrei Starkov
Style editor: Philip Aghion



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