Graphics journalism: Advice for beginners

Students who are learning about charts and how to produce them should remember the following:

• Study charts that have been professionally produced by newspapers or news web sites. The Associated Press has a graphics department that produces many charts used by newspapers every day. Look closely at the way they are put together.
• Don’t try to put too much data in a chart. A line chart should not have more than three lines of data. A pie chart should not have more than six or seven sections at most.
• Use an explainer box to help the reader understand the chart. An explainer box is the text under the headline.

• Try to keep the idea of a chart – what you are attempting to show – as simple as possible.

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About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall, a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker and beekeeper -- among others things.

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