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– 1% of the news in infographics …

AF447 Airbus 330 crashed in the Atlantic – Infographics

jornal-de-noticias1A major flight catastrophe seems to have unfolded over the Atlantic Ocean last night. A plane has simply disappeared after leaving Rio De Janeiro on its way to Paris. 228 people have lost their lives in this tragic accident, which we don’t know much about yet.

But still we must report what we do know – and hopefully one day be able to tell the story of AF447.

In the graphics we’re only at the first steps in the rulebook for breaking news:

First graphic:

  • Draw a map of the area
  • Write the story in a couple of short sentences
  • Place some boxes on the map and give them pointers, where they look appropriate – put the sentences into boxes

Second graphic:

  • You know nothing, so find some object you can draw. In the event of a planecrash the suggested object to draw is the actual model of aircraft – it should be easy to get the reference for top, front and sideview
  • The drawing of the plane will make an excuse to tell facts of no relevance to the story about the airplane.
  • This graphic should give the reader the feeling, that you’ve know more than they do and have done some research.

Third graphic:

  • Collect enough time-readings to go with a couple of sentences so that you can make a timeline of the event. Do not illustrate the timeline can with small clock dials, as this once obligatory treatment has gone out of fashion and will make you look old-fashioned. Much better to go with large type or just pictures without frame.
  • In case of lack of exact time, you can make the timeline with more forgiving text – like ‘evening’, ‘early’ etc. This has the added advantage, that you’re not making mistakes. Most timelines made the first day with exact minutes tend to be wrong anyway.

Fourth graphic (if you’re unlucky):
Editors ask if you can help with a timeline of previous disasters. With newer pagination systems this task is not likely as page designers will be able to do it just as good.

Fifth graphic ( – available when Breaking News is a plane crash):

Make that graphic, which shows where most airplane crashes happens – sorted by takeoff, midflight and landing. It was quite good the first time back in 1995, and can always be used. The data has probably never been updated since the first time it ran, so we might see some 14 years old numbers, but it’s no longer credited with any source, so the readers won’t notice that.

AF447 Examples:

Here are some examples from online-media, I have seen so far. Nothing from print yet, but I don’t think it will differ much from the above mentioned formula for breaking news crashes. When the true AF447-story is uncovered I hope to see much better graphics with a lot more substance to them.