November 17, 2015

Asta Diakite’s cousin called her “big sister.” Nohemi Gonzalez was a “shining star.” Ludovic Boumbas was “one of life’s good people.” France 24 cameraman Mathieu Hoche had a 6-year-old son. Amine Ibnolmobarak was a newlywed.

If you haven’t yet heard the names or read something about the lives of the victims of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, go to Twitter and click Mashable’s En mémoire, an account that’s tweeting once for each person who died in the attacks.

“It’s a simple idea with a complicated execution,” said Brian Ries, Mashable’s real-time news editor, in an email. “We have had at least four people working on it at all times, but a half dozen people have contributed overall. One person is researching, another is compiling the data, and two are crafting that information into short, impactful tweets. And then we rely on our around-the-globe team to make sure the tweets are spotlighted on @Mashable overnight.”

Other news organizations that have also shared profiles of the victims include The Washington Post, The Guardian, the BBC, BuzzFeed, CNN, TIME and NPR.

Mashable staff are counting on what’s been reported by French and international media to gather details about the victims, Ries said. They have an internal spreadsheet to show where they’re finding information. In one case, Ries said, a victim’s family requested through a French journalist that their loved one remain anonymous, “and so far we’ve been able to honor that.”

The account, which launched on Monday, had more than 28,000 followers as of Tuesday evening.

“We really didn’t know how this would turn out,” said Amanda Wills, Mashable’s deputy executive editor, in an email, “and we kind of went into it without any real expectations to be honest. I guess if I think about it, the response does surprise me because the idea, on its surface, seems so simple. Perhaps that’s what makes it so memorable.”

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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