Graphics help tell a text story. These are examples I pulled from newspaper websites:
- The war in Syria (New York Times).
- This map shows all the A.T.Ms robbed in this heist on Feb. 19. 2013 and lasted 10 hours (New York Times).
- The death of a Pakistani prisoner in an Indian hospital (Hindustan Times).
Not all stories need graphics, like this one on China’s intrusion in Ladakh, India (honestly, I think they could have had a map with the stand-off point, relocated positions of the militaries and a legend showing the troops used; just saying).
But some stories, like the one by Khaleej Times on the 50 identified accident-prone areas of Dubai, need info-graphics to help readers better understand the implications of the numbers they have been given.
Some stories are better told through a video, while some are better understood with images. Some stories need a graph, while others may use an interactive module. Whatever the mode used, graphics always help a story. I have yet to see a graphic that does not complement the story it is used for.
But how does one choose which format to use for a story? These are some tips I have learnt:
- Bar charts should be used for quantities having a fixed number.
- Pie charts should be used to show parts of a whole and they work in relation to one another.
- Line charts are used to show trends
- Timelines tell a story with dates
- Maps are for places (duh!)
I also found this website whose creator, Hilary Sargent, creates charts for complicated stories like the Boston Bombings, the Gardner Museum heist or the Westboro Baptist Church in news. Enjoy knowing about events and people in an artistic way.