Friday, October 19, 2007

Infographics: Why we love the 90s

Hold up on those eulogies for the news graphic. Fleet Street may have long given up taking the time, trouble and effort to put together an informative words and pictures package – think ‘infographics’ of the 90s – but little brother Metro today shows the way.
A fascinating ‘Impact Science’ special compares the physical strains of rugby and formula one. It is well written with some amazing facts:
  • During a scrum the spine can be subjected to 1.5 tonnes of pressure, equivalent to a medium sized rhinoceros
  • During braking an F1 car can hit 5Gs – five times the force of gravity – making the driver five times his body weight.


OK, so some of the illustrations are a bit naff and the whole thing doesn’t get across the gutter very happily, but bravo to Metro and long may you carry on giving it a go.
Back in those 90s I was lucky enough to work with graphics journalist Duncan Mil who is still producing highly creative, imaginative graphics from his Graphic News studio in London.
At Thomson Regional Newspapers (RIP), editorial director Terry Quinn and I were convinced that graphics were the way forward. Some titles – notably Terry’s old stamping ground The Edinburgh Evening News and my old train set, The Journal in Newcastle – embraced the new marriage of words and pictures. But most others turned the other cheek and settled for refereeing newsdesk vs picture desk vs subs.
Most of those same papers are still reporting damp flats and stolen bikes – with far fewer readers and not a graphic in sight.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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