2021 Explanatory Reporting, Medium Newsroom finalist

Too Young to Die

About the Project

“… It’s described through shrieks of pain from a devastated mother. The sleeplessness of a left-behind sister. The look of blank stares, unexplained anger, bed wetting and acting out. The lack of innocence in a person too young to lose it. The numbness. The hopelessness. The balancing act of not grieving for too long, but not letting go too soon.

The maneuvering of what some refer to as concrete jungles.

The trauma is weighing so many in Montgomery down…”

“Too young to die” — excerpted above — is a package of stories from Krista Johnson and her colleagues at the Montgomery Advertiser that seeks to explain the toll that gun violence has taken on the community’s children, their families and friends, their schools and the city’s psyche.

Key attributes

  • Compelling narrative
  • Extraordinary access to survivors
  • Smart presentation of data
  • Use of video for poetry
  • Inclusion of family video
  • Compelling artwork contributed by community to represent grief and fear around community gun violence


  • REPORTING: Krista Johnson
  • EDITING: Bro Krift, Steve Arnold, Melissa Brown
  • PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY: Jake Crandall, Nate Chute.
  • CONTRIBUTED ARTWORK: Kevin King, Andre Jamal, Kyzetta Kelly, Melody Thomas Alexander, Winfred Hawkins
  • DIGITAL PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: Ana Hurler, Yoonserk Pyun, Sarah Robinson, Spencer Holladay
  • SOCIAL MEDIA, ENGAGEMENT AND PROMOTION: Melanie Balakit, Daniella Medina