With the two best graphics in the AF447-gallery made by El Pais and another taking fourth place, it’s pretty straightforward to declare El Pais the overall winner of the challenging task to do infographics about the Airbus disaster.
The winning graphic is one of the Breaking News graphics, where it was the main focus to explain what had happened to the Air France plane.
The main visual element is a 3D-rendering of a slice of the Atlantic Ocean. The area where the plane had disappeared. What makes this rendering stand out is the idea to clearly show we’re talking about a deep ocean. I think the ground texture could be better, as it’s far from convincing when the texture is rendered to look like sand seen up close. The texture is simply too big.
This sliced view is a lot better than the other 3D-view presented by El Pais in another graphic, where the plane confusingly flies the direct opposite way in the diagram compared to the accompanying map and ends up in a very big splash in the ocean. In fact this slice is so good that Le Figaro traced it and used it for their own frontpage-graphic.
The readers are also presented with a cloudmap overlaid on the globe, so none can be left wondering whether or not the plane entered tough weather. This cloudmap is especially relevant because of the circumstances in this accident, but the technique with a globe with relevant data should be remembered for aircrashes.
Data about the airbus is somehow expected in breaking news-graphics, but I fail to see it as nothing more than a visual excuse while we wait for some relevant information. They might add a credible look to the first piece you do, when you have nothing else to show, but here I think the other elements are so good, that the data-corner isn’t needed.
Overall I can only congratulate Mariano Zafra and Nacho Catalán for a Breaking News graphic well done and a well-deserved win in this first VisualJournalism Challenge.