Infographics have always been popular. There’s even a site dedicated to them: dailyinfographic.com. But lately they’ve popped up as a regular feature in Newsweek, one of the most mainstream of media.
One of the most consistent relationships in my adult life has been with Newsweek. I’ve been a subscriber since college, when a journalism professor went down the long list of all the things I had to read regularly. I picked Newsweek because then at least I’d have a summary of the news when I didn’t get through the rest of his list.
It’s been interesting to watch the evolution as its editors attempt to save the life of the publication. The latest is Tina Brown, a celebrity journalist in her own right, and she’s certainly brought more, shall we say, mainstream content to the news weekly.
But she’s also brought something critical in the digital age – visual storytelling. There’s still a place in the magazine for thousand-word and even three-thousand-word articles, but interspersed are nuggets of eye candy.
The best infographics do much more than impart information – they tell the story in one or two pages.
Case in point: On the occasion of what would have been Princess Diana’s 50th birthday, Brown wrote an article about what Diana’s life would be like were she alive today. You can read the article, or you can skim Diana’s Facebook page, which gives you all the same ideas in a clever format.
I recently heard a colleague lament about what a writer can do in an era where people don’t read. Writers are more important today than ever, was my reply. It takes great skill to crystalize an idea into the few words that matter most. When paired with compelling images, your story can make a lasting impression, and may even lead to someone reading the thousand-word article.