The notion of journalism, particularly "high-journalism" evokes a great age of writers and photographers on the front lines of danger. The typewriter and the film camera catching light and action at the source of change and conflict. The word and image still serve; however, the sources are far more numerous and diffused and the tools of the professional do not vary greatly from the amateur or fortunate (or unfortunate) men, women, or children on the street. Journalism now involves assembly; and assembling data toward visual coherency is a primary task for information designers. Journalism today is as often, or as unsurprisingly, accompanied by pictures as by diagrams. This issue of PJIM brings three articles together that clearly underscore this trend that both supplements and supplants the photographic/typographic tradition.
Process, complexity, objectives, and user-considerations, amongst other factors, are discussed in the articles. Each author clearly has an individual take. Also, the degree of potential interactivity varies from zero to considerable. This addresses the user-factor of news media immersion and knowledge discovery. Welcome to new journalism, and some of its practitioners.
Jihoon Kang, Publisher, and William Bevington, Editor-in-Chief
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by Paul Blickle
by Sergio Pecanha
by Michael Lawton, Jerry Beilinson, Kristie Bailey
info-journalism, data visualization, data driven journalism
Zeit Online is the digital sister publication of the German weekly newspaper, Die Zeit, running its own independent newsroom in Berlin. For Zeit Online data driven journalism has became an increasingly important way of telling stories. In addition to simply accompanying articles with static charts and infographics, rich interactivity provides a well-accepted instrument to let our readers investigate comparative details of a story. Interactivity is particularly valid when it comes to conveying large datasets, as the visualizations tend toward complexity in order reveal the multi-tiered stories to be found within. Therefore, a well-designed interactive composition with intuitive navigation is a key to the success for users. This concept of a “guided tour” is becoming familiar among data journalists as a means to engage readers in extremely rich datasets.
Since the construction of interactive, data rich visualizations are more time consuming than simple charts, requirements for a targeted proof of concept and thorough planning are an essential part of the design process. The team in our newsroom who take care of data visualization are confronted with both small and large datasets. Projects that are to be finished in less than a week run concurrently with long-term ones. Although we have no rigidly standard procedure for undertaking projects (as each kind of data varies in scope and scale) I would like to provide insight regarding the typical project phases and the main actors involved in the process. Additionally, I am providing Zeit Online’s practice respecting data acquisition, graphics, and the approach to interactivity that allows us make decisions on multiple design issues—both functional and aesthetic.
Paul Blickle graduated from the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg, Germany. Since 2009 he lives in Berlin, where he first was employed at Golden Section Graphics as Infographics Editor and Art Director of the In Graphics magazine. He works at Zeit Online since 2011 where he runs data visualization projects.
Design collaboration, design process, information graphics, interactive design, The New York Times
This article discusses the process of creating information graphics and multimedia presentations at The New York Times. It introduces the structure of The New York Times’ graphics team and discusses a few projects to illustrate this group at work. An important distinction at The New York Times is that the graphics department is involved in and generates all the steps for the creation of infographics. A group of about 30 people produce everything: including reporting and writing copy, processing datasets, web development, drawing schematics, designing print pieces, and developing and creating the interface of multimedia projects. The author is a graphics editor working primarily with the International news section. This paper explores examples of graphics reporting as well as the design and editing that were part of the coverage of the wave of unrest in the Middle East, commonly referred to as the Arab Spring. The story of a street destroyed by the war in Libya is used as an example of reporting and design. Two projects related to the ongoing violence and refugee crisis in Syria are examples included to reveal the creative process for both print and the process involved in web presentations.
Sergio Peçanha is an information designer. He has been Graphics Editor at The New York Times since 2008. Prior to The New York Times, he was Graphics Director of The Dallas Morning News, Texas and Designer at Globo.com in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. His work has been recognized by the Malofiej, Society for News Design and Communication Arts. He majored in Journalism at Rio’s Federal University and graduated in 1998.
infographic, aliens, extraterrestrial life, Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanics is a general-interest publication that covers news in science, infrastructure, space, technology, DIY, and home, among other areas. We reached a circulation of more than 8 million print readers, and 4 million unique visitors online. By capitalizing on a data-rich story in the July/August issue, PopMech designers visually express the possibility of alien life in our galaxy in a massive, full-spread infographic executed by graphic designer Kelli Anderson. This article will discuss the creative process behind the art direction of “The Case for Alien Life” (Popular Mechanics, July/August 2013) from its first visualization as a series of sketches to the final work available on newsstands.
Michael Lawton is the design director of Popular Mechanics magazine and is responsible for the design of both print and tablet editions of the 111-year-old brand. His work at Popular Mechanics has recently been recognized by the 2012 Society of Publication Designers, Ad Week, MIN’s Tablet Editorial & Design Awards, and ASME.
Jerry Beilinson is the deputy editor of Popular Mechanics. In addition to working in print and online, he leads the magazine’s tablet app initiatives.
Kristie Bailey is currently an associate art director at Popular Mechanics. She was previously employed as a designer at O, the Oprah Magazine, and was recently recognized by SPD for her work on Howler Magazine.