Below is my first foray into the world of infographics, a project looking at declining print circulation within the British press. It was inspired by an article I read on February’s circulation figures and is my final project for a Data Journalism course I’ve been taking and has shaken my belief the future for print newspapers is purely digital. Click the picture to be taken to the full PDF file.
Over the last eight weeks I’ve spent much of my spare time taking part in a Data Journalism course from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, led by Alberto Cairo, a lecturer in Data Visualisation at the School of Communication at the University of Miami. The project above is my final assignment.
The course (which used a combination of video lectures, reading materials, online resources, online quizzes and group discussions) has been a really great experience which taught me a lot. Being able to fit my studies around my job was fantastic and I definitely see a big future for online courses now that I’ve completed one and seen the benefits firsthand!
The course was also a great follow up to the Advanced Multimedia Storytelling module I took when studying at the University of Kent’s Centre for Journalism, which also focused on elements of data visualisation.
But back to the data: the above infographic not only taught me a lot about infographic creation, but has also shaken my previously held belief that print has only got a purely digital future. It opened my eyes to the possibility of digital and print news co-existing for a long time to come, each driving traffic to the other.
I could tell you what else I discovered, but I think I’ll let the infographic above do the talking and allow you to make your own observations!
0 thoughts on “The future of the press may not be print or digital…but both”
Looks interesting but clicking on image gives 403 error. is it in public dropbox?
It should have been! Link seems to have broken, should be fixed now, thanks for flagging 🙂 Let me know if it’s still not working.
It’s good now. Looks great. Couple of points/queries
a) Did you do this in Illustrator
b) The top graphs are visually misleading with the left hand one having a scale of 700 to 760 thousand and the right hand one (where there is a bigger drop that looks much smaller) from, I’m guessing 0 to 800 thou
c) Re online % changes. Some of the qualities have introduced subscription fees . The impact of that would be particularly interesting. The Times was first and may account for its poor performance
Thanks for the feedback I’ll do my best to explain my reasoning below.
a) I used a mix of LibreOffice (open-source successor to OpenOffice) to make the graphs and then Adobe InDesign to put it all together, though I did consider Illustrator as well.
b) I hesitated a lot about the graphs you point out, for exactly the reason you point out: it can be misleading if you don’t realise the scale.
I very deliberately made sure the label was present on the left hand graph so people could identify it was started at 700 thousand. My reasoning for setting the scale like this was because what I wanted to show clearly were the changes from month to month…setting the scale to zero meant these changes were almost imperceptible without dramatically increasing the height of the graph, which looked absurd. Keeping the numbers on the bars also deliberately made it clearer.
The graph on the right does start at 0 as you assumed. I tried starting it at the same scale as the graph on the left but it really didn’t seem necessary – doing so really exaggerated the drop too much…as the drop was so much bigger I felt this really wasn’t needed to make the viewer aware of the change. I also thought the accompanying text should help a viewer realise the difference between the two charts as it talks about the drop being much bigger than the drop on the monthly graph. Admittedly, when looked at purely in terms of bar heights, the sizes would seem to imply the opposite, but that’s partly why I made the bars different thicknesses, to try and imply the two graphs weren’t the same.
I’m glad you pointed this out, in future I’ll definitely make it clearer when similar charts use different scales or ensure they use the same scales. Like I mentioned in my post this was my first attempt at this sort of thing so I’m happy to have pointers! I’m still awaiting the results from my infographics course so I don’t know how the lecturer will rate this graphic yet either, it will be interesting to see his comments and if he brings up the same ones!
c) I completely agree, very interesting! Unfortunately I didn’t find a whole lot of data on this in the time I had to research, though with more time I’m sure I could have dug something up. But it’s also a vast area, if we’re talking about subscriptions there’s full paywalls, partial paywalls, physical subscriptions, digital subscriptions for ereaders and smartphones…then different papers have different timescales and options…daily, monthly, yearly, with digital offerings, Times+ deals etc… It’s such a vast area it’s probably an entire project in itself!