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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Infographics: Not just to cover the grey

Peter EspinaThe infographics editor at China Daily takes Jeff's talk further by illustrating how infographics can be used by newspapers and the rationale for using graphics in newspapers.

The speaker explained the idea of the usability of infographics through an example of 3 (english language) newspapers he picked up recently, all three featuring the new Airbus as the main story on their front pages. The idea, according to Espina is not to use "just another picture of a plane", the idea is to give information, which would have been possible had a pictographic been used.

Either there were no graphics available on the subject or the newspaper just did not care enough, which brings up the question of whether infographics have to be done by art departments in newspapers or special agencies.
The right idea is to have a mix of both.

What do mid-sized newspapers expect of specialised agencies supplying graphics?
1. Sensitivity to time zones and deadline pressures
2. More reader engaging graphics.
3. Easily editable graphics.
4. The price factor: one price does not suit all newspapers.
5. Easily downloadable.

The push for infographics needs to come from the top, meaning that editors need to realise the potential of using graphics in news stories. Senior editors need to understand that an infographic is not a supplement to a photograph. At times, a good infographic can even be used as the main story, with the text as a supplement. Graphics should NOT be used to cover the 'grey' in the story either.

Setting up a good graphics department means the following considerations:

People: There are lots of graphic designers and a small complementary team of graphic designers should do the job.
Work: Not every story needs a graphic. It is a judgment call and graphics can, at times, form the main story as well.
Pay: (for Editors: Pay well if you find someone good!)

Posted by: Zebunnisa Burki

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

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