Monday, October 8, 2018

The Graphics Team

In the second half of The Functional Art, A. Cairo interviews a number of individuals from the graphics desk of several high-profile newsrooms. Steve Duenes and Xaquín G.V. are the graphics director and editor at the New York Times, Hannah Fairfield was the graphics director at the Washington Post, before she too went to work for the New York Times. Cairo discusses with all three how the graphics team works together to publish a beautiful visualization.

Discussion of both newsrooms highlighted the individualism of the members on the graphics team. Each person on the graphics team has their own journalistic curiosity and will to bring a story to life. Each member also comes with their unique backgrounds and expertise. Some may be very good at one type of graphic, while others have a good understanding of how everything fits together. Each member of the graphics team will bring their own flavor to a story, and working as a team, will find the best angle to bring light to a story.

When addressing a question about workflow management, Fairfield mused that often journalists from another department would come and ask for a specific graphic. As the manager of a team of individuals, she knew that a graphic created from scratch by someone on her team would be much more creative and cohesive than something made-to-order. She would tell the other journalist "I will hand off this graphic to someone on my team I trust will do a good job. You won't get exactly what you're asking for - you'll get something even better."


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