Graphics as visual stories

Few stories this week have captivated readers as much as Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director this week after admitting an extramarital affair. Juicy, right? It gets more interesting. Now, Gen. John Allen, who was slated to be NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander (we need these titles in the newsroom!) is being investigated in a potentially related issue. Allen is accused by a woman of sending thousands of emails, some said to be threatening, to her. The link? The woman in the Petraeus story is also said to have harassed this second woman.

Huh? (Scratches head.)

Stories with intricate story lines, more than two main characters and, let’s face it, interesting details we want more of are perfect for graphic storytelling. The first thing that comes to mind with this series of stories is WEB. No, not online. A literal web, like a spider web. Think about it – it’s hard to keep track of who did what to whom or who is accusing whom of what (copy editors, check that who/whom reference). So make it easy for your reader: Illustrate the story.

Many news organizations did today (see today’s Star-Telegram for a local example). Also, journalism rock stars at Poynter.org put together a short list for us.

Challenge: How can you tell the story you’re working on today (juicy or not) visually?

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