The New York Times currently has about 40 "graphics journalists" as it moves to make data-driven visuals an increasingly integral part of its news mix.
Why does it matter?
Along with data-driven journalism, data visualization and infographics are emerging as arguably the news trend of the decade with reporters, editors, and producers.
1. The New York Times' best interactive graphics are now competitive with the most significant news stories in terms of site traffic
2. Data visualization and storytelling were among the categories at the first international Data Journalism Awards, due to be presented on May 31
3. Google recently stepped into data visualization for journalists with both a conference and an expansion of its Fusion Tables feature that gives users more ways to explore and visualize large data sets
"Visualizing information and data is being approached in a new way," explains Dino Citraro, cofounder of information visualization firm Periscopic. "Data can be easily sorted so you can put interfaces in that you couldn't previously. You can make systems that let people play around with data and have their own epiphanies."
Only a few outlets, such as the Times, are putting resources into in-house data visualization, though Citraro points out online services, such as Visual.ly, are providing cost-effective ways for many people, including reporters, to create their own graphics.
Lucy Allen, EVP and chief strategy officer at Lewis PR's San Francisco office, notes that data visualization fits in well as the PR world places an increased emphasis on visuals.
"Everything has to be accompanied by some kind of visual angle because people now consume content in a much more visual way, whether on a mobile device or via social media," she adds. "It has to be more than just a pretty picture. You must really think about what the story is, have a beginning, middle, and an end, and ensure it's surprising and revealing."