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A graphic from the Hindustan Times, one of many with inaccuracies.

Editors, artists chafe at the errors and hype in bin Laden death story graphics

SHOWCASE | May 09, 2011

Some of the graphics that ran alongside the bin Laden death story deserve an A for creativeness but a D or an F for accuracy, as pointed out by Juan Antonio Giner and Alberto Cairo. They call for higher standards for infographics and produce a six-point checklist to insure such standards are met. Signifying the importance of the issue, 58 experts from 22 countries have endorsed the statement and added their names to it.

(Editor’s note May 11: An additional 48 experts have endorsed the statement since it first appeared. Their names appear at the end of the original list. The total at this point is 106 signatories from 27 countries.)

By Juan Antonio Giner and Alberto Cairo


Some experts who care about and practice visual news have sharp complaints about the non-factual graphics that were so widespread in the media’s coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1.

Journalism is a serious business where credibility is paramount. Editors need, first and foremost, to get the facts right, in graphics as well as text and video.

What happened last week was that some editors, given a sensational story and little detail, acted as if they were in show business, not the news business. Graphics often were flashy and hyped and very inventive – good show business – but if they portrayed what actually happened, it was only by accident.

In this article, we offer six rules to ensure that editors follow basic, ethical journalism standards in presentation of infographics. It’s a statement in the form of a checklist. Fifty-eight journalists, all of them highly regarded in the field, have endorsed the statement. Their names are listed at the end of the checklist, and we expect that more will sign on in the coming days.

As we can see here (Brazil), here (UK), here (India), and here (U.S.), some publications presented as facts what was just fiction. Sometimes there was no factual support whatsoever. It’s as though William Randolph Hearst was back with us, saying once again, "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."

This kind of thing has happened before, so the misuse of infographics was not totally unexpected. One ostensible excuse was that the Obama White House frequently changed the story of the raid, presenting conflicting pictures day by day. 

But a history of incorrect work doesn’t excuse errors these days. And many of the infographics were done so early on that the White House can’t be blamed for what was, after all, an infographics circus. (Not all the work was bad; for a discussion and a large number of infographics, see the VisualJournalism website.) 

In this non-stop, 24/7 news world, editors need to practice restraint and not rush with images when the facts are not there.

So here, with the assistance of some of the most creative, most reliable visual journalists in the world, is our checklist for infographics:

1. An infographic is, by definition, a visual display of facts and data. Therefore, no infographic can be produced in the absence of reliable information.

2. No infographic should include elements that are not based on known facts and available evidence.

3. No infographic should be presented as being factual when it is fictional or based on unverified assumptions.

4. No infographic should be published without crediting its source(s) of information.

5. Information graphics professionals should refuse to produce any visual presentation that includes imaginary components designed to make it more "appealing" or "spectacular". Editors must refrain from asking for graphics that don't stick to available evidence.

6. Infographics are neither illustrations nor "art". Infographics are visual journalism and must be governed by the same ethical standards that apply to other areas of the profession.

Juan Antonio Giner (UK) is a founder and president of Innovation International Media Consulting Group; Alberto Cairo is the infographic director of Epoca, a weekly news magazine in Brazil. Here are the names of 58 journalists, design experts from 22 countries, who endorse the statement. (We anticipate adding to the list in a few days):

Endorsed by:

John Grimwade (USA), graphics director at Conde Nast Publications.
Mario Tascón (Spain), former El Mundo infographics editor.
Nigel Holmes (USA), former graphics director, Time magazine.
Carlos Soria (Spain), chairman of Innovation.
Unar Vegstein (Norway), Afterposten's head of design.

Mark Porter (UK), Principal, Mark Porter Associates.
Javier Zarracina (USA), Boston Globe's graphic editor.
Adrian Norris (Canada), managing editor, design and presentation, Globe and Mail.
Jaime Serra (Spain), La Vanguardia's infographic and illustration editor.
Corrie Parsonson (UK), Context Graphics Limited's managing editor.

Carmen Riera (Venezuela), graphic editor, Cadena Capriles.
Fernando Baptista (USA), senior graphics editor, National Geographic magazine.
Francesco Franchi (Italy), IL-Intelligence in lifestyle, Il Sole 24 ORE's art Director.
Andrew Jaspan (Australia), former editor, The Age.
Alvaro Valiño (Spain), Público's infographics director.

Linda Eckstein (USA), former Information graphics editor, Fortune.
Antonio Martin (Spain), senior desisn consultant, Innovation.
Tonia Cowan (Canada), Globe and Mail's graphics editor.
Charles Apple (USA), editor, The Visual Side of Journalism's blog.
Chiqui Esteban (Spain), Lainformacion.com new narratives editor.

Jan Schwochow (Germany), In Graphics, graphics executive creative director.
Henrique Monteiro (Portugal), former editor of Expresso.
Emilio Deheza (Mexico), formerly Reforma's graphic director.
Adonis Durado (Oman), design and graphics director, Al Shabiba.
Juantxo Cruz (Spain), El Mundo's infographics editor.

Luis Chumpitaz (UAE), information graphic director, Al Bayan.
Jonas Dagson (Sweden), infographics editor, Swedish Graphics Agency.
Oscar Santiago Méndez (Mexico), design director, El Universal.
Michael Stoll (Germany) professor of information design, Augsburg University.
Pablo Loscri (Argentina), infograhics director, Clarin.

Miguel Angel Gomez (UAE), design director, Gulf News.
Nick Mrozowski (USA), creative director, Adweek magazine.
Pedro Monteiro (Portugal), digital art coordinator, Impresa Publishing.
Douglas Okasaki (UAE), senior designer Gulf News, and Society for News Design regional director, Middle East and Africa.
Nils Kr. Reppen (Norway), news graphics journalist.

Michael Robinson (UK), head of graphics, The Guardian and The Observer.
Bertrand Pecquerie (France), CEO of the Global Editors Network.
Jeff Goertzen (USA), infographics editor, The Denver Post.
Svenåke Boström (Sweden), former president, Society of News Design.
Alberto Cuadra (USA), graphics editor, The Washington Post.

Grzegorz Piechota (Poland), special projects editor, Gazeta Wyborcza.
Pablo Ramírez (Spain), founder of Sinpalabras.
Miran Pavic (Croatia), editor, Nedjeljni Jutarnji.
Velislava Popova (Bulgaria) editor-in-chief, Dnevnik.
Roger Black (USA), founder, Roger Black studio.

Fabio Sales (Brazil), art director, O Estado de S. Paulo.
Walter Bernard (USA), former art director, Time magazine.
Paul Blickle (Germany), art director, In Graphics.
Spiros Polikandriotis (Greece), senior design consultant, Innovation.
Rich Beckman (USA), Knight chair in visual journalism, University of Miami.

Max Gadney (UK), curator, Design of Understanding conference.
Guillermo Nagore (USA), creative director, SYPartners.
Norvall Skreien (Norway), former president, Society of News Design/Scandinavia.
André Gunthert (France), director of the Laboratoire d'histoire visuelle contemporaine at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales.
Gert K.Nielsen (Denmark), editor, VisualJournalism blog.

Rosental Calmon Alves (US), Knight Chair in Journalism, University of Texas at Austin.
Eduardo Asta (Brazil), Infographics editor at Estado de S. Paulo.
Simon Ducroquet (Brazil), Infographics editor at Folha de São Paulo.

Add-end: Additions since this story first appeared:

Ricardo Santos (Portugal), infographics editor, i-newspaper.
Tom Corbett (Belgium), International Newsmedia Marketing Association, European Office.
Carlos Guyot (Argentina), innovation director, La Nación.
David Michelsohn (Brazil), multimedia editor, Epoca.
Robb Montgomery (USA), CEO, Visual Editors.?

Ricardo Jorge de Lucena Lucas (Brazil), journalism professor, Universidade Federal do Ceará.  
Alfonso Everlet (Spain), owner of 3Planos.com.
Daniel Cedeño Urbina (Venezuela), president, Excellentias.com.
Nigel Hawtin (UK), graphics editor, New Scientist.
Monica Ulmanu (USA), graphics journalist, Boston Globe.?

Vasco Ferreira (Portugal), art director, Impresa.
Miguel Angel Carbonero (Spain), infographics editor, Diario de Mallorca.
Geoff McGhee (USA), creative director, Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University.
Víctor Caballero (Spain), Visual Journalist, Vectart.
Teo Jansen (Venezuela), sports editor, Diario Primicia.?

Ivan Kemp (Portugal), infographics editor, Sabado.
Joe Sharpe (UK), creative director and partner, Applied Works.
German Pizarro (Spain) infographics director, Marca.
Wm Pitzer (USA) news graphics editor – The Charlotte Observer.
Lee McGorie (UAE), assistant art director, The National.?

Hans-Jürgen Polster (Germany), art director, Berliner Morgenpost.
Jerry Luciani (USA), AME/graphics & design, The Record, NJ.
Adriano Attus (Italy), deputy art director, Il Sole 24 Ore.
Remy Jon-Ming (Netherlands) infographic designer FD.nl.
Gerson Mora (Brazil), infographics designer, Epoca.?

Ninian Carter (UK), freelance infographic artist Globe And Mail.
Xan Sabaris (China), infographics editor, China Daily.
Jonathan Stray (USA), interactive technology editor, Associated Press.
Bjorn Hellstrom (Sweden), director of infographics, Sydsvenska Dagbladet.
Juan Colombato (Argentina), infographics editor, La Voz del Interior.?

Jay Carr (USA), graphics director, Houston Chronicle.
Daniel Garcia (Spain), Lecturer at the University of the Basque Country.
Anibal Maiz (Mexico) Web design & infographics editor, Mexico City.
Manuel Romero (Spain), creative director, Servicio Telegráfico.
Rodrigo Fino (Argentina), designer, Mario Garcia-Media.?

Steve Dorsey (USA), president, Society of News Design (SND).
Nicole MacAdam (Canada), presentation editor, News & Sports, Globe and Mail.
Chuck Todd  (USA), presentation editor, Bay Area News Group - East Bay.
Valentina Alvarez (Argentina), visual communicator.
Andrés Escobar (Chile), journalist, Emol.com ?

Matt Perry (USA), information graphics director, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Ciprian Rus (Romania), editorial & project manager, Puntomedia.
Gustavo R. Torres (Mexico), former design editor, El Siglo de Torreon.
Andy Kirk (UK), editor Visualisingdata.com.
Rodrigo Cunha (Brazil), infographics artist, Época.

Alfonso Díaz Knörr (Spain), design editor, Diario de Burgo.
Peter Ong (Australia), principal consultant, Checkout.
Andreia Caires (Brazil) infographics editor, Veja/Veja.com.

Additonal endorsements and comments are of course welcomed. Where appropriate, please include your name, country and position.


Supporting the cause
Posted by Teo Jansen (Venezuela)
05/09/2011, 10:21 AM

Sports Editor at Diario Primicia,

News Graphics Editor – The Charlotte Observer
Posted by Wm Pitzer
05/09/2011, 10:45 AM

Supporting the cause and upholding journalistic values for informational graphics.

Infographic designer FD.nl Nethelands
Posted by Remy Jon-Ming
05/09/2011, 11:05 AM


Graphics journalist, Boston Globe (USA)
Posted by Monica Ulmanu
05/09/2011, 11:11 AM

Fully endorse.

Infographics Editor, SÁBADO News magazine (PT)
Posted by Ivan Kemp
05/09/2011, 11:11 AM

Endorsing higher standards in information design and a six-point checklist to insure such standards are met.

Assistant Art Director, The National (UAE)
Posted by Lee McGorie (UAE)
05/09/2011, 11:14 AM

Fully endorse

Alexandria VA
Posted by Richard Wexler
05/09/2011, 11:20 AM

The authors make some very good points, but repeating Hearst's alleged comment, "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war" may not be the best way to support a call for accuracy.

In his excellent book "Getting it Wrong" (University of California Press: 2010) W. Joseph Campbell makes a good case that Hearst probably never said it.

Web design & infographics chief, Presidencia.gob.mx
Posted by Anibal Maiz
05/09/2011, 11:27 AM

Totally with you

Infographics editor, China Daily (CN)
Posted by Xan Sabarís
05/09/2011, 11:32 AM

Let's make it real!
Un saudiño.

Director of Infographics, Sydsvenska Dagbladet
Posted by Bjorn Hellstrom
05/09/2011, 11:33 AM

I endorse! I will also take the opportunityand use this post to spread some light over the basics of infographics to my colleagues.

Infographic Artist
Posted by Ninian Carter
05/09/2011, 11:41 AM

Couldn't agree more. There were some outrageous graphics that morning. You can see 30 examples, good and bad, here:

http://graphicgibbon.blogspot.com/2011/05/got-im.h ...

Lecturer at the University of the Basque Country (Spain)
Posted by Daniel Garcia
05/09/2011, 12:24 PM

Supporting the cause

Graphics Director, Houston Chronicle
Posted by Jay Carr
05/09/2011, 01:15 PM

Fully endorse!

President of INNOVATION
Posted by Juan Antonio Giner
05/09/2011, 01:48 PM

Thanks to all of you for your support.

In a few hours we will add your names to the list.

And please spread the word in your newsrooms.

Supporting the cause
Posted by Miguel Ángel Carbonero
05/09/2011, 01:56 PM

It is very important to educate especially in small newspapers.

Miguel Ángel Carbonero
Infografics editor
Diario de Mallorca

La Voz del Interior, Córdoba, Argentina
Posted by Juan Colombato, Infographics editor
05/09/2011, 02:12 PM

Totally agree. It's what we work...

Creative director, Servicio Telegráfico
Posted by Manuel Romero
05/09/2011, 02:16 PM

Couldn't agree more. I endorse and congratulations for the idea.

Infographic Designer
Posted by Gerson Mora
05/09/2011, 02:28 PM

Journalism = true information

AME/Graphics & Design, The Record
Posted by Jerry Luciani
05/09/2011, 02:49 PM

Fully agree.

Deputy Art Director at Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy
Posted by Adriano Attus
05/09/2011, 02:52 PM

Totally agree

presidente de garcía media latinoamérica
Posted by rodrigo fino
05/09/2011, 03:15 PM

Fully agree!!

Editorial & Project Manager Puntomedia (Romania)
Posted by Ciprian Rus
05/09/2011, 03:22 PM

Fully endorse! Congratulations for the idea.

Posted by Andrés Escobar
05/09/2011, 03:22 PM

Journalist at Emol.com

Totally agree
Posted by Valentina Alvarez - Visual communicator (Argentina)
05/09/2011, 03:24 PM

Supporting the cause

Presentation Editor, Bay Area News Group - East Bay
Posted by Chuck Todd
05/09/2011, 03:28 PM

The rush to understand something and make it clear to readers in a news graphic should not cloud our news judgement or our journalism ethics. These are a great set of guidelines to apply to infographics and I fully endorse.

Presentation editor, News & Sports, The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Posted by Nicole MacAdam
05/09/2011, 04:31 PM

Couldn't agree more.

President (2011), Society for News Design Vice President / R+D, Detroit Media Partnership
Posted by Steve Dorsey
05/09/2011, 04:41 PM

Steve Dorsey
President (2011), Society for News Design
Vice President / R+D, Detroit Media Partnership

Firmly co-signed. I feel that the points you make are strong, clearly in support of journalism and very much in line with SND's Code of Ethics, adopted in 2006. (http://www.snd.org/about/code-of-ethics/)

Visual journalist
Posted by Martin Kirchgässner
05/09/2011, 04:52 PM

I a perfect world i agree with it all, but the six rules leaves us with several problem under the circumstances we are working. Who can tell wich way the black hawk went down? Who can tell if Bin Laden were alone in the room? And wich room? Should it prevent us from visualise it and tell the story? In eager to be perfect and tell the 'truth' by following these six rules in the category breaking news, we might end up with very few graphics, or even worse...nothing.

Interactive Technology Editor, Associated Press
Posted by Jonathan Stray
05/09/2011, 05:15 PM

Yup, I can get behind these.

Former Design Editor El Siglo de Torreon, Mexico
Posted by Gustavo R. Torres Adelantado
05/09/2011, 05:40 PM

Totally agree with the rules. Again, it's the content, not the "drawing". I rather see less but reliable graphics than a bunch of icons that may mislead me. People trust in newspapers because they offer reality, not tales. Let's not confuse "creativity to make a better newspaper" with "imagination to fill the pages".

Visualisation Designer, Editor Visualisingdata.com
Posted by Andy Kirk
05/09/2011, 05:52 PM

The rules look robut on initial viewing, but even if they turn out to be requiring iteration it is great to see this sort of debate being openly and constructively pursued by all involved. A healthier practice will be the result of all this.

Information Graphics Director, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Posted by Matt Perry
05/09/2011, 06:12 PM

I couldn't have said it any better than Juan and Alberto, and I thank them for this timely and important reminder.

Visual Journalist @ Vectart
Posted by Víctor Caballero
05/09/2011, 06:41 PM

Always learning from you, fully endorsed

Creative Director, Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University
Posted by Geoff McGhee
05/09/2011, 09:26 PM

I support this message!

President and founder of INNOVATION
Posted by Juan Antonio Giner
05/10/2011, 03:36 AM

A few stories and posts related to this statement (please feel free to add new ones):

An International Statement on Infographics and Visual Journalism.
http://bit.ly/pgolm ...

Ciudadano Kane, Osama bin Laden y la infografía de prensa.
http://bit.ly/jZM4Al ...

Statement against fictional infographics
http://bit.ly/c2mUSV ...

En contra de la infografía ficción
http://bit.ly/19vIGc ...

Journalists Launch Crusade Against Bin Laden Raid Infographics
http://bit.ly/krdHs9 ...

Journalists around the world criticize errors and sensationalism of bin Laden death infographics

Expertos de 22 países firman un manifiesto contra gráficos sensacionalistas en prensa a raíz de la muerte de Bin Laden.
http://bit.ly/mvFGLH ...

Missing Link
Posted by Juan Antonio Giner
05/10/2011, 03:43 AM

Journalists around the world criticize errors and sensationalism of bin Laden death infographics
http://bit.ly/jSaqqQ ...

Graphics Editor - New Scientist
Posted by Nigel Hawtin
05/10/2011, 05:33 AM

Fully endorse this

Posted by Gert K Nielsen
05/10/2011, 05:51 AM

Enough with the non-factual Breaking News Graphics ...
http://bit.ly/j0EXLP ...

President Excellentias.com
Posted by Daniel Cedeño Urbina
05/10/2011, 06:16 AM

Totally agree with the rules. Fully endorse.

Owner at 3Planos.com
Posted by Alfonso Everlet
05/10/2011, 07:01 AM

Completely agreed.

INMA European Office
Posted by Tom Corbett
05/10/2011, 08:10 AM

Fully endorse this.

Multimedia Editor - Época Magazine - BRAZIL
Posted by David Michelsohn
05/10/2011, 08:34 AM


Infographics Coordinator - i newspaper - Portugal
Posted by Ricardo Santos
05/10/2011, 09:04 AM

Totally agree

Innovation Director @ La Nación, Buenos Aires
Posted by Carlos Guyot
05/10/2011, 12:13 PM

Fully endorse the statement

Journalism teacher, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brasil
05/10/2011, 01:16 PM

I am in full agreement. Some of this material was discussed with my journalism students and they could see the amount of error (some silly) in making this material.

infographic artist
Posted by rodrigo cunha
05/10/2011, 02:44 PM

Completely agreed. I´m sure that´ll be a great step for the visual journalism.

More feedback
Posted by Juan Antonio Giner
05/10/2011, 03:12 PM

Visual journalists speak out for accuracy in infographics
http://bit.ly/kvGvxB ...

infografia nao é ilustraçao em arte. é jornalismo gráfico | codigo de conduta
http://bit.ly/lHcZZ2 ...

Posted by hilton libos
05/10/2011, 03:52 PM

In contemporary Journalism, the aspect of infographics naturaly have to follow the canon: reporting it's art and craft.

Posted by Juan Antonio Giner
05/11/2011, 03:04 AM

Nieman Watchdog report pushes for ethics in infographics.
http://bit.ly/kDy1xG ...

Editors, artists chafe at the errors and hype in bin Laden death story graphics.
http://bit.ly/lA9he1 ...

A growing call for higher standards in infographics.
http://bit.ly/j5BNdW ...

Contra la infografía inventada.
http://bit.ly/mBeIif ...

editor de arte, jornal A Notícia
Posted by Fábio Abreu
05/11/2011, 09:30 AM

meu apoio.

art editor, Superinteressante magazine, Brazil
Posted by Renata Steffen
05/11/2011, 10:36 AM

Supporting the cause

Graphics editor, Graphic News
Posted by Duncan Mil
05/12/2011, 01:45 AM

Agree totally, We need good training and clear career paths before views of info-artists are valued/respected within editorial hierarchy.

Posted by Juan Antonio Giner
05/12/2011, 02:40 AM

Petition against speculative news graphics
http://www.journalisten.se/artikel/27604/upprop-mo ...

Protest against dramatized graphics
http://www.medievarlden.se/nyheter/2011/05/protest ...

Infographic designer - Valor Econômico
Posted by Bruno Sampaio
05/12/2011, 01:29 PM

Fully endorse!

Visual Journalists - Diario de Cádiz
Posted by Jose A. Álvarez
05/12/2011, 01:38 PM


Graphics Editor, La Tercera, Chile
Posted by Jorge Cortés
05/12/2011, 03:34 PM

I want to endorse the statement too. I think that is necessary to do it and we have the responsability of keeping infografics in a good level, and procure the respect that this profession deserve
Like graphic department, we have had a meeting to discuss about this statement and we agree

Corporate Editor, PRABHAT KHABAR (India)
Posted by Rajendra Tiwari
05/13/2011, 06:35 AM

Fully endorse

Infographic Editor, APOYO Publicaciones. Perú
Posted by Robinson Choquetaype
05/14/2011, 02:24 AM

Infografía es información pura.

dMultimedia.es > Visual Journalist
Posted by Carlos Gámez Kindelán
05/14/2011, 03:00 PM

Supporting the cause.

Graphics Editor in Residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism
Posted by Karl Gude
05/15/2011, 04:11 PM

I think a list of rules/guidelines is a great and needed start to achieve accuracy in news graphics. Most news artists, including me, have the best intentions when it comes to ethical reporting and accuracy in our work, yet certainly there are some out there who ignore these two cornerstones of journalism. In my experience, breaking news graphics fall somewhere on a spectrum ranging from cartoony inventions with little or no basis in fact to extremely accurate and straightforward representations of the facts as handed out by reliable sources. For a variety of reasons, many infographics can fall somewhere in between, left or right of center.

Where things can go badly with a graphic, despite the best of intentions, is when visual journalists include information that is based on unconfirmed sources that later turn out to be wrong. Some of my work has certainly fallen into this category. I never invented information, but occasionally I got it terribly wrong because I trusted a source of my own, beyond the official ones. At other times, though, such reporting reaped huge exclusives for my publication. Journalism is, after all, about getting and reporting facts, not just presenting what is spoon fed to us. But in the case of a story that happens so far away, as with Osama, our hands can be pretty much tied to what we're being fed.

Are real crime, though, is when we crash a helicopter (any helicopter) somewhere in the graphic (anywhere in the graphic) just because we know that one crashed and we have to put it somewhere. Of course it will be wrong, and this approach to displaying hazy information diminishes the credibility of the rest of the graphic, and worse, our publication, because it lies to the reader.

Most breaking news graphics are made under a tight deadline and most visual journalists must (1) get it right and (2) beat the competition, two demands that work against each other. But with good, accurate reporting one can achieve both.

De acuerdo
Posted by Freddy Fiallos
05/15/2011, 08:32 PM

La credibilidad de la infografía es un trabajo de todos, la búsqueda de un gráfico "estetizante" (cítese del libro infografía 2.0 de Cairo), en ocasiones lleva al divorcio de la información, lo cual es penoso...

Infografista El Diario de Manabí
Posted by Freddy "dADá"Fiallos
05/15/2011, 08:34 PM

http://pasionporlainfografia.blogspot.com/ ...

El periodismo visual sufre el mismo retroceso ético que el periodismo escrito.
Posted by Iki
05/16/2011, 11:01 AM

¡Gran iniciativa!

Iki.es Infografia
Posted by Iki
05/16/2011, 11:10 AM

often strangely, from the newspaper offices, the graphics are been seen more as an aesthetic appeal than as visual journalism

Consultant. Former SND Officer and Malofiej Awards administrator
Posted by Toni Piqué
05/16/2011, 12:08 PM

Right said. I fully endorse that manifesto.

It wil help a lot making sure graphics guys work as journalists, committed with the communities their medias serve and the professional standards of the trade. There are still so many of them still considering themselves as illustrators, designers or the like… and it shows.

And, yes, it will also help a lot if journalists "by career" stop treating the graphics guys as illustrators, designers or page-decorators instead of journalists on their own right.

Great initiative, JAG and Alberto!

Consultant Graphic Director The Sunday Times (UK)
Posted by Rafael Höhr
05/17/2011, 02:04 PM

Completely agreed. It seams we need to learn to stop a few feet before the unknowledge red line.

Posted by Ricardo del Mundo
05/17/2011, 02:54 PM

This is a good idea except for one overriding element. The mainstream media is no longer a trusted source of information. And it is losing readers and viewers in the millions daily. Why? Because there is no independent reporting.

It is remarkably easy to prove. Choose a topic, any topic the mainstream doesn't want to cover (9/11, Kennedy, UFOs, global warming skeptics, etc.) Google the topic and watch the list of personal blogs and foreign news sources that report it. Internet is great. It shows us daily who is in bed with who in the journalism biz!

If this initiative was to really work - it would have to accompany a real journalistic piece on how Osama disappeared back in 2001. And how without a body - the world speculates Osama lives on. And how mainstream media has dug itself a grave and now lies... in it daily.

Well done!
Posted by Nuno Vargas
05/18/2011, 10:23 AM

Nuno Vargas, Executive Multimedia Consultant, LUSA, Portugal

So true
Posted by Eduardo DUDA Silva
05/19/2011, 01:25 AM

Men, that`s so true!
This may be part of my final college paperwork about infographics. Probably will.

Eduardo DUDA Silva
Infographic Designer & Art Director in RBS TV - Florianopolis - Brasil

Totally agree
Posted by Milfri
05/19/2011, 11:27 PM

Milfri Pérez Macías
Infographer and Multimedia Chief at El Universal. Caracas, Venezuela

Advisor, Info Graphics Design
Posted by Loren Needles, LRN@Analytica.com
05/20/2011, 02:52 PM

The checklist should have a #7 which specifically addresses DATA graphics quality.

There are still way too many misleading data graphs. For example, percentage graphs of rates (percentages) are too frequently misleading when compared with the real numbers used to calculate the percentage data. Designs are often changed when the real numbers are considered.

In general, there needs to be a grammar of info graphics just like there is for language.

That should take care of many design issues and poor practices.

Parovoz studio (Saint Petersburg, Russia), professor of Saint Petersburg State University
Posted by Fyodor Shumilov
05/22/2011, 12:20 PM

Fully endorse the statement

Graphic design teacher
Posted by Pedro Matos
05/23/2011, 05:42 AM

Totalmente de acordo!

creative director Reply (Romania
Posted by Iulian Puiu
10/03/2011, 05:36 AM

Supporting the cause

Graphics Editor, Press Association
Posted by Graeme Park
03/12/2012, 08:51 AM

How many new graphic artists are able to say to an editor that his idea/suggestion/request for a graphic won't work at best or is just plain speculation at worst? We need the code listed above to become part of all journalists training.

The problem becomes worse when we look to the huge numbers of so-called "infographics" which are used as "content" on the internet - containing carefully selected statistics provided by the companies and vested interest groups to make their argument.

The NiemanWatchdog.org website is no longer being updated. Watchdog stories have a new home in Nieman Reports.