As graphics producer, my work and subsequent creativity depends first on the work of the other producers and their selection of stories and videos that will be in our broadcast. Once I see what they want to have on our show, I can try to clarify and even enhance what the viewer sees. It's not easy to think outside the box in that respect, but at the same time it's important to try. Cool, interesting graphics go a long way in improving the quality of our newscast.
Our lead story Monday focused on the newly accepted applicants to the University of Southern California. This was a highly talked about story throughout our audience, the USC community; many current, former and future Trojans alike dedicated posts on their respective social media profiles to offer congratulations and express excitement. I'll first go through the graphics we used to help tell the story, then discuss my involvement and hopes for the future.
First we had a basic graphic at the monitor behind our anchor, Alex, that read "USC Welcomes New Students" and a picture of campus in the background. Then we displayed a line graph indicating the decrease in acceptance rates throughout each of the last four years. This was followed by what we call an ANCG list. The graphic was titled "Admissions Diversity." On the left it had another USC image and on the right was a list of the diversity breakdown of admitted students by race. We then went to a heat map of the United States; the five states with the highest number of accepted Trojans (California, Texas, New York, Washington and Florida respectively) were red, and next to or inside each was a number, one through five, indicating where each ranked.
Alex did the reporting on the story and also played a role in coming up with the graphic ideas. It was primarily my idea to include the diversity breakdown list with an image as well as the heat map.
Now we could have had Alex simply read all of this information. Or we could have incorporated it into one large graphic, or perhaps even several lists. But watching the report from start to finish, I was incredibly pleased with the fact that not only was it visually appealing, but the visuals played a huge role in telling the story. In an era when video is often watched on smart phones without sound, I always try to figure out a way to tell a story without it. I'm really proud we were able to do that successfully, and I'm even prouder we did that for our lead story.
Unfortunately doing something like this for every story would make the life of our art director, Maya, who helps create many of our graphics, a living nightmare. But I think it would be a great and feasible goal to have at least one story per show where graphics showcasing all the information necessary supplement the anchor. It made sense for this story in particular because of all the numbers involved, including the diversity percentages and acceptance rates. But number-based stories are not uncommon, and this is a great way to spice up the boring regurgitation of statistics and turn it into an exciting, aesthetic piece.