Monday, November 5, 2018

Primary Source Info

Printed in The Functional Art, A. Cairo interviews Jan Schwochow, of Golden Section Graphics. Jan discusses primary source information and how many publishers miss many details of a story in a rush to publish.

In the rush to publish after a major event like a terror attack or natural disaster, journalists will often overlook key details or simply make up facts to fill in the story. A frighteningly enlightening graphic of his shows how in the scramble to publish about 9/11, the majority of the sites publishing showed incorrect trajectories of the planes (below). When creating a visual representation of an event, primary photographs and video are unbeatable. ike a game of telephone, the truth can often be muddled by being passed along a chain of reporters.

Jan left his information desk to start his own infographics company in part because of the many errors in reporting he observed while in the media. Jan likes to pursue "projects of love" on which he will gather primary information for much longer than the typical reporter will. One of his most famous projects focussed on the Berlin Wall. For two years he gathered every detail on the shapes of characteristic objects, the confirmed timeline, maps, testimonies, and any other details he could get a hold of. The project ended up turning into a published story in In Graphics and as a museum display. More importantly, the account represents the most true-to-story account of the Berlin Wall Jan can provide.