The death of Diego Maradona: How to say goodbye to our biggest idol during the pandemic?

[This is a behind the scenes expanation in english. For the full LA NACION’s UX experience, please visti the links provided. Thanks in advance!]

December 25, 12.30 pm, 2020. When the death of Diego Maradona caught the world by surprise, LA NACION´s reaction was instantaneous, being conscious that the Argentine media should keep a step ahead. A team work was organized in a few minutes to accompany the breaking news with value-added productions to ensure a distinguishing coverage.

We are going to share projects produced during the first 24 hours that the news break.

A scrollytelling with the reconstruction of the last hours of the football (soccer) star was published a few hours after his death, with exclusive information and revealing details provided by journalists from Sports and Police sections, with the contribution of the Design team developing a clear and attractive format to tell what audiences needed to know amidst the great shock reigning both in the country and worldwide. The information was updated during several hours and in this note the first unclear situations regarding the death of the former football player were reflected and then they formed part of a judicial case in which the true reasons that led him to the tragic final are being investigated.

In an accelerated contagion escalation and during a short period, national authorities decided to organize an in-person wake at Casa Rosada –Government House- so that all fans could farewell the popular star. However, due to the restrictions related to the pandemic, not all could do so and this caused popular unrest. Consequently, from LA NACION, we bet to create a space for users’ feelings during a day of extreme sorrow and emotion. Readers’ farewell crossed borders: nearly 4000 messages were published in LA NACION’s Homepage –previously moderated- in 5 different languages with condolences, memories and anecdotes of the star or reflections.

We also gave space for the biographical sketches of the best writers of the editorial office, those who had a close relationship with the star and followed all his career. The privacy of the man who cried in his days of agony boosted a text that was published nearly immediately in LA NACION web and in the printed newspaper on the following day. Journalist Cristian Grosso succeeded in capturing the complexity of the essence of the football star with important information and extreme sensitivity. With realism and bitterness, but with respect and empathy, the author could leave the surface of the impact of the news and explore in the depth of what the departure of a unique and unrepeatable person meant. Maradona portrayed thousands of Argentines: passionate, abusive, creative, conceited, warm and reckless. The time to say farewell had reached that coexistence, portrayed during decades.

Thanks, Maradona. A video from LA NACION.

His incomparable talent with the ball could not be absent and we reconstructed some of his goals with exclusive comments and visual recreations. Although the piece had been thought for Maradona’s sixtieth birthday, it was reformulated to be offered to our readers in the unexpected day of his death.

As a homage and considering that the football star was characterized for coining phrases, we developed a special to go over said quotations that took root in collective memory. The interactive, that was published the day following his death, invited readers to place said phrases in the rich and oscillating timeline of Maradona’s life. At the end of the experience, the user could receive feedback on his hits and misses, besides knowing in each case the percentage of readers that had chosen each option. With emblematic photographs which demanded an intense archive research, production team succeeded in expressing and capturing the ideas, sensations and positions of the football player in his different stages.


Immediacy, quality and innovation should be combined as ever before to make a difference in a unique day in journalistic terms. The strategy consisted in forming a multidiscipline team so that all aspects of the news were reflected and could be approached with the highest level of professionalism in real time.

The tone was an aspect to be evaluated, we should be realistic and respectful in a day of generalized sensitivity. We pursued to highlight positive aspects, reflect the complexity of the character without delving into polemic matters that were part of his life. In the hours following his death, memory and homage were the priorities. During the lockdown period due to Covid-19 pandemic, designing an urgent coverage was an enormous challenge: definition of focus, activation of teams, redistribution of functions and, at all times, keeping in mind that the target was to offer the best proposal. A group of journalists, designers and programmers decided to work in person at LA NACION to coordinate and optimize all processes in a frenetic day. The impact was reflected in the high level of local and international visits in our website and in the high levels of audience reached in the pieces inviting readers to participate. The most successful production was the reconstruction of the last hours of Maradona with 175.439 pageviews.

Not in the breaking news lapse, we also published a special with the tweets and messages we’ve found in the web in 58 languages.