Simon Rogers: “Infographics are just as much journalism as a written piece is”

Simon Rogers

Beautiful infographics are great to look at but they don’t mean a thing without good data. We caught up with Guardian data journalist and recent XCity Award winner Simon Rogers to talk infographics from a data point of view.

Hi Simon! Tell us a bit about yourself and your background with data/infographics…

I’m a news editor on the Guardian and editor of the Guardian’s Datablog and Datastore – an online resource which publishes and works with raw data to try to make it more accessible and interesting for members of the public. I work closely with the graphics team and head of graphics Michael Robinson to support them editorially.

Could you tell us about the process of creating an infographic – from idea to inspiration, design to conception. What does it involve?

Often it starts with a breaking news story or an idea – how can we explain this in the clearest way possible? Then we’ll try to find the most appropriate data. Then we have to clean up the data, make it straightforward – before the graphics team look at the best way to display that information. There are often different approaches taken for online and in the paper.

How long does the average infographic take to produce?

It really varies – from a week to an hour. It depends on how much time we have, how complicated it is and how clean the data is.

Infographics are getting more and more commonly featured in newspapers and magazines – why do you think they are important for contemporary journalism?

They are journalism, just as much as a written piece is. It’s about displaying the information in the best way possible – sometimes that involves words, sometimes graphics, sometimes both.

What are the three key components to making an infographic as effective as possible?

Good data, great design and a combination of information in a way you hadn’t thought of.

What is your favourite infographic and why?

I like this one based on the Wikileaks data from Afghanistan. It tells you everything you need to know about IED attacks in the war at one glance – but it’s interesting enough to spend some time on.

Thanks, Simon! Check out the Guardian’s Datastore to see the latest in data journalism and infographics from Simon and the Guardian data team.

Are YOU a fan of the Guardian’s Datastore? Do YOU create inforgraphics or work with data? Would YOU like to be featured on Infographics for Dummies? Get involved and either comment us below or tweet us @InfographicsD

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About andytweddle

Magazine Journalism MA student at City University London. Tweet me - @andytweddle
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