Monday, March 21, 2005

Complete List of Awards
Lista completa de premios

Friday, March 18, 2005

El Mundo and Take Top Honors
El Mundo y obtienen los maximos galardones

More information from (Spanish)

The jury of the 13th Malofiej infographics competition has announced its awards for 2004. For the first time, the judges decided to award the Peter Sullivan best-of-show prize to two entries: El Mundo for its coverage of the March 11 terrorist attacks; and El Pais online for its presentation on the anniversary of Cervantes' Don Quixote.

Overall, the panel gave out 115 medals for print entries (11 gold, 39 silver and 65 bronze) and 39 for online submissions (9 gold, 12 silver and 18 bronze.)

The jury reviewed a record 1,355 entries that were submitted from 80 different publications in 20 countries.

Additionally, Prof. Miguel Urabayen of the University of Navarra was given the first honorary Alejandro Malofiej award for his outstanding contribution to infographics in the practice of journalism.

In print categories the gold medals were:

-El Mundo (3): 11-M attacks breaking news, Portfolio of the Royal Wedding and the 11-M portfolio (which was also the Best of Show-Peter Sullivan).
-La Voz de Galicia (2): Portfolio Camino de Santiago, Naufragio en las Sisargas
-The New York Times (1): Threats and Responses
-El Correo (1): El rescate del Graf Spea
-El Comercio (1): Museos del Peru
-Cinco Dias (1): El mapa del poder economico
-Sydsvenkan (1)
-Superinteresante (1): Trafico na favela

And in online infographics the golds were: (5): Recuperacion del fuel del Prestige, Portfolio Olympics Games, Portfolio 11-M attacks, Don Quixote (2 golds and Best of Show-Peter Sullivan). (4): Space Portfolio, Portfolio 11-M attacks, Portfolio Olympics Games, Deep Impact Mission.

El jurado de los 13 premios de infografía Malofiej ha anunciado sus galardones de 2004. Por primera vez el jurado ha decidido conceder dos premios Peter Sullivan, la maxima distinción: a El Mundo por la cobertura de los ataques terroristas del 11 de marzo en Madrid y a El País online por su presentación del aniversario de Don Quijote.

El jurado concedió un total de 115 medallas a gráficos impresos (11 oros, 39 platas y 65 bronces) y 39 para online (9 oros, 12 platas y 18 bronces).

Adicionalmente, el profesor Miguel Urabayen, de la Universidad de Navarra, recibió el primer premio honorífico Alejandro Malofiej por su contribución a la infografía como género periodístico.

En categorías impresas las medallas de oro fueron para:

-El Mundo (3): Ataques terroristas del 11-M en Madrid, Portafolio de la Boda Real y portafolio del 11-M (al que se le concedió también el Peter Sullivan).
-La Voz de Galicia (2): Portafolio del Camino de Santiago, Naufragio en las Sisargas.
-The New York Times (1): Threats and Responses
-El Correo (1): El rescate del Graf Spea
-El Comercio (1): Museos del Perú
-Cinco Días (1): El mapa del poder económico
-Sydsvenkan (1)
-Superinteresante (1): Tráfico na favela.

Y en categorías online los oros fueron para: (5): Recuperación del fuel del Prestige, Portafolio de los Juegos Olímpicos, Portafolio de los ataques del 11-M, Aniversario de Don Quijote (2 oros y Peter Sullivan). (4): Portafolio del espacio, Portafolio de los ataques del 11-M, Portafolio de los Juegos Olímpicos, La misión Deep Impact.

Squaring the Circle at The Observer

Michael Agar told how a month off with his new baby in 2002 gave him time to rethink The Observer's graphical techniques. He had become disenchanted with a commonly used technique: creating a large circular inset in his infographics.

"The circle was dead, bubble had burst," he said. What was next? The square.

Using a grid of squares allowed for both the sequential ordering of information cleanly, but it also created an invisible grid at a 45 degree angle as well. As the Iraq War erupted, Agar said that war's whirlwind brought a typical degree of innovation and excitement to his and other newsrooms -- plus greatly added interest from senior editors in graphics.

"War," he said, "changes everything."

View his presentation to learn more
Read the full text

Susen Schultz: "We don´t have a name for our job"

Susen, originally uploaded by albertocairo2005.

Susen Schultz, from Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden, explained "How to visualize the visual artist". Schultz talked about how much effort her department had to put a couple of years ago to adapt to a new situation of budget cuts due to the competition with new media like free newspapers and their change of format from broadsheet to tabloid.

Schultz showed the visual "Bible" they prepared for the reporters. As in Sweden there is not a word that defines the work of an infographics editor (some one suggested "visual journalist" during the questions time), they often are asked to do very different works. In that "Bible" they explained what are the best sizes for each kind of graphic, what information is needed for a successful coverage, etcetera. She also showed several examples of the well crafted infographics they produce on a regular basis.

Archie Tse: Filing News Graphics from Baghdad

By Alberto Cairo

Archie Tse, one of the most renowned infographics editors of The New York Times described his experience as the first visual journalist that reports from a warzone. Archie traveled to Bagdad after the invasion was over and created clear and original infographics packages with lots of first hand information.

Tse talked about the problems he and Charles Blow (graphics director) had to persuade reporters that it was necessary for the infographics department to have a person in Iraq. In November 2003 they got the permission and Tse entered the country from Jordan, a 12 hours drive through a dangerous zone. He explained how he worked in several projects there, including the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003. (Archie is shown above in Hussein's infamous "spider hole").

He asked how much we can rely on information from the military, as the day of the capture the US Army delivered a rough sketch of the dictator´s lair near Tikrit and it was not accurate at all. The infographics New York Times and other newspapers published was consequently misleading. Only the day after, when Tse and other 50 journalists were allowed to get to Saddam's hut (they traveled from Bagdad in Blackhawk helicopters), take photographs and draw drafts they could make a reliable diagram about the structure.

Tse´s experience, in his own words, will be useful for further projects, as reporters now understand much better the journalistic side of infographics.

BBC´s Max Gadney and Mark Bryson: research and infographics

BBC´s Max Gadney is in charge of design and infographics projects and also puts many efforts in research about readers. Gadney talked about "What do audiences need from Information Graphics (and how do we find out?)". They way to find out their needs, he said, was to watch our readers while they use infographics. And that´s what they did. Their conclusions, though preliminary, might be useful to all online media. Gadney´s concerns after the research are very focused on visual ethics and how to be appealing to audiences of all ages, considering that what a reader of 24 years old likes in a presentation or design is not the same as a 50 years one enjoys. Also, the role of BBC as a public service limits their choices when using new technologies.

As Mark Bryson, BBC Interactive designer, explained, all their readers must be able to access the information. That´s why they always create both Flash bitmap infographics so the browser will show either of them depending on if the Flash plug-in is installed or not. Bryson talked about how their work has changed from the static and rough guides some years ago till their current XML-based and content-dinamic ones, like the US Elections coverage

A Look Back at the Workshops

(Click to enlarge)

We will post more information on the Show Don't Tell! and Interact Don't Show! workshops, but for now here's some links to images of their projects, and to the flash project.

Show Don't Tell! Print Infographics Workshop:
How to Survive the Bull Run (Group 1- Winner)
Running With the Bulls- a Manual (Group 2)
Riesgos de la Fiesta (Group 3)
Running Safe (Group 4)

Interact Don't Show! Online Infographics Workshop:
El Encierro San Fermines (Flash)
.fla files (zip archive)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Building Castles Out of Silicon

Leonel Sousa Pinto and Luis Miguel Taklim are the principals of Anyforms Design and Communication, a Portuguese company that is the country's first independent infographics agency. The company's core products are sports graphics and highly detailed 3D renderings of historic buildings and monuments in Portugal and Spain.

At first it seems like an odd pair of specialities, but their portfolio delivers similarly detailed portraits of Southern Europe's temples of sports and tourism. Sousa said that they faced constant challenges finding complete information and the right angles of view to recreate these structures -- both those that still stand and those that disappeared long ago.

Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Flash, Says U.S. Multimedia Instructor

Rich Beckman is head of the visual journalism sequence at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His program is regarded as the best in this small and emerging field. His current undergraduate students, said Prof. Beckman, are the first college students to live their entire life with computers in the home and the first to have used the internet since childhood.

These students are the media consumers of tomorrow, he said, and they will demand engaging and highly visual content. Already one of the most valuable degrees today is in video game design. Where are those graduates going for jobs? To media companies, he said.

Prof. Beckman presented two projects produced by his summer multimedia workshop: a documentary on South Africa's apartheid regime, and last November's feature on southern Chile, which won the Online News Association's best student work of 2004 award.

Perhaps most dramatic demonstration came from Prof. Beckman's other project, the Institute for Science Learning. The audience was introduced to what the Institute calls a "Mediabook"-- a flash-based electronic textbook containing college-level instruction on genomic research. It contains animations, audio narration and interactive tests requiring students to correctly identify cellular structures. Containing nearly 100 units, it tracks every user interaction down to the mouse click and offers reactive instruction according to the student's progress.

The ambitious goal of the science institute is to completely replace paper based instruction materials, he said. Moreover, reference materials will be available electronically that students can access from the laboratory on their pda's or cell phones.

Infographics, said Prof. Beckman, have the potential to lead a multimedia revolution and draw young customers back to news media. (He took the occasion to mention that UNC has added a new instructor for information graphics and design: El Mundo and Malofiej's Alberto Cairo).

"Too many informational graphics artists are afraid of Flash and its steep learning curve," he said. "They appreciate what is made with it but have left the work to others. I think that needs to change."

In Peru, Old Newspapers Live Again to Teach the Young

Xabier Díaz de Cerio recently returned to Spain after several years making infographics for El Comercio in Lima. He screened a 17 minute video documentary "Aqui Se Recicla (We Recycle Here)," which described the newspaper's innovative program to distribute infographics and visual storytelling among primary and secondary schools around the country.

Lacking resources, many Peruvian primary and secondary schools have had trouble improving literacy levels. In the documentary, teachers and administrators described the effect that infographics had in helping students grasp and retain information. The film also showed Xabier working with students to create their own visual aids on subjects in Peruvian history and culture.

Out of 10 hours of interviews, Xabier whittled the film down to an engaging 17 minutes that posed an interesting question about the short life cycle of print infographics, as well of role of newspapers in cultivating future readers.

'Cleaning Up' El

View the presentation materials

Maria Moya is the creative director for Prisacom, the digital publishing arm of Prisa Group, the biggest media company in Spain. She spoke about her design team's efforts to unite company's television, radio and internet properties in a network of sites - the newspapers El Pais and Cinco Dias (a business daily,) SER radio and the cable news channel CNN+.

Working with a team of nine designers (two of them with infographics experience), Ms. Moya rebuilt El for its transition to a monthly subscription model. She says it currently has a base of about 47,000 paying users.

Building on a shared XML platform that links all of the constituent sites, they worked to 'clean up' the sites with a premium on user accessibility and transparency. The site has a clean and airy feel, while extra design consideration is invested in special packages that have been produced in the past years -- particularly the terrorist attacks of March 11, 2004, the Spanish elections a week later and the European Cup soccer tournament. Ms. Moya also showed a special site that was assembled to promote Prisa's reissue of Don Quixote on its 400th anniversary.

Peter Schumacher on Online User Testing: "Know Your User (And You Are Not Your User)"

Peter Schumacher presented some early results of user testing he performed for a doctoral thesis at the University of Trier in Germany. Equipping test subjects with headgear that tracked their eye movements, he asked them to click through online infographics on two subjects: the 2004 European Cup and the Asian tsunami.

Some of his findings:

• Users expect highlighted items to be clickable, even if they are not
• Users want the ability to retrace their steps and move backward to a sort of "home page"
• The medium defines users' expectations- try to use interface conventions that are widely used in your medium, whether it is the web or mobile devices
• It's not hard or expensive to set up a user testing group, whether you use strangers, your friends or your family members

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Geoff McGhee: infographics and databases
Geoff McGhee: infografía y bases de datos

Presentation materials

The last of the four presentations of the Show Don´t Tell! and Interact Don´t Show! workshops was Geoff McGhee´s, chief multimedia producer at His work gives many clues about the future of online infographics because it exemplifies how to use databases efficiently when you present visual information in newspapers.´s interactive infographics and multimedia pieces are strongly templated. Geoff showed some examples of their work right after the 11-S terrorist attack in 2001 and explained that they used to build the narrative in the Flash main timeline, just as any other designer who comes from print media does in the very first moment. But the next step they took in their department was to build a solid and very flexible template where content can be loaded dinamically after being splitted in several files (SWF, TXT and XML formats mainly). This allows them to build eye-catching multimedia packages in a tight deadline if necessary.

He encouraged workshop participants to enhace their knowledge about interactivity and propose some examples, like NYTimes deep cover of the last US elections.

La última de las cuatro conferencias de los talleres Show Don´t Tell! e Interact Don´t Show! fue la de Geoff McGhee, jefe de multimedia de Su trabajo da muchas pistas sobre el futuro de los gráficos online porque ejemplifica cómo usar las bases de datos de forma eficiente cuando se presenta información visual en periódicos.

Los trabajos de infografía y multimedia de se basan en un uso muy hábil de las plantillas. Geoff mostró algunos de los trabajos de su equipo justo después de los ataques terroristas del 11-S en 2001 y explicó que solían construirlos en la línea de tiempo principal de Flash, trabajando de la manera en que lo hace cualquier diseñador recién llegado del medio impreso. Pero el siguiente paso que dieron fue construir una plantilla muy sólida y flexible en la que el contenido pudiera ser cargado dinámicamente después de haber sido dividido en muchos archivos (principalmente en formatos SWF, TXT y XML). Este sistema les permite realizar presentaciones multimedia atractivas en muy poco tiempo si es necesario.

Animó a los participantes en los talleres a que profundizaran en el estudio de la interactividad y propuso algunos ejemplos, como la excelente cobertura que hizo sobre las recientes elecciones en los EEUU.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Workshops Sprint On as Deadline Looms

Workshops, originally uploaded by albertocairo2005.

As day two of the Interact Don´t Show! and Show Don´t Tell! workshops wears on, the students are pressing ahead with their infographics on Encierro, the running of the bulls.

The online students are hard at work rendering fence-posts, clothes and the plaza del toros, while the print workshop has broken off to do a breaking news exercise.

The students have until 11:30 tomorrow morning to complete their work, then the whole group will critique it.

Some interesting ideas we´ve seen:

Color coding the route to show the most dangerous places and best places to watch
3D renderings of the runners showing their clothes and the newspapers they use to protect themselves from 500kg bulls.
A ¨community¨feature allowing viewers to send in their own pictures of the event

Juan Velasco on Infographics: "You Don´t Have to Draw to Be Good"

The former New York Times and El Mundo infographics artist Juan Velasco described his experiences running his own firm, 5W Infographics. It´s very hard to support a business working only for news clients, he said, so he and his colleagues at 5W have branched out into new areas as well: website design, advertising and corporate relations.

Regardless of the medium or the application, he continued, the goal of good infographics is the same: to explain information clearly. It certainly helps to be an expert illustrator, he said, but great drawings don´t help if your graphics are not clear.

He showed examples from his own portfolio and infographic artists he admires. "See how few words are needed in this graphic," he said, showing a population map of the US made by Bill McNulty of The New York Times after the 2000 census. The graphic showed a perspective view of the continental United States with the population centers appearing as giant, pointed peaks.

'Be Fast, Accurate and Innovative," says Alberto Cairo

Alberto Cairo presented his work to the assembled students of the Interact Don't Show! and Show Don't Tell! workshops this morning. Discussing El' approach to online infographics, he described three challenges has encountered: how to work fast, how to be journalistically sound, and how to keep innovating.

He showed the audience how works quickly by posting incremental updates of their graphics online as news breaks: a locator map, a static graphic, and finally a complete animated package.

At the same time, he said, infographics staffs must work closely with editors and writers to check their facts. Earlier in his career, he said, the excitement of the web and animation tools made it tempting to overreach journalistically. Don't simulate an event, he said, if you aren't absolutely sure how it happened.

He also offered a preview of El Mundo's evolving approach to infographics. Multimedia is an important element, he said, showing an animated video with narration showing Albert Einstein's development of the theory of relativity.

A student suggested this approach might be too linear for the web, and lacking in interactivity.

That's true, answered Alberto. But there's many ways to do this, and we should try all of them.

Monday, March 14, 2005

'The Running of the Bulls' ('Encierros') project begins
Comienza el proyecto sobre los encierros

Recepción, originally uploaded by albertocairo2005.

The Mayor of Pamplona (photo 1) offered a reception for the Show Don´t Tell! and Interact Don´t Show! participants in the city council building this morning. Javier Errea (photo 3), president of the SND-E , welcomed everyone. They both talked about how important is the 'running of the bulls' and San Fermí­n for local population and tourists worldwide.

After that, participants (photos 2 and 4) walked the way the bulls take during the festivity of San Fermí­n, in July. A local guide gave them lots of interesting information. They took drafts, photos and gather reference material so they´ll be able to create the best infographics about the 'encierros' this same afternoon.


La alcaldesa de Pamplona (foto 1) ha recibido a los participantes de los talleres Show Don´t Tell! e Interact Don´t Show! en el Ayuntamiento esta mañana. Javier Errea (foto 3), presidente de la SND-E, les dio la bienvenida. Ambos hablaron de lo importante que son los encierros y San Fermí­n para la población local y para turistas de todo el mundo.

Después de eso, los participantes (fotos 2 y 4) caminaron el trayecto que siguen los toros durante las festividades de San Fermín en julio. Una guía local les dio una gran cantidad de información interesante. Los participantes dibujaron bocetos, tomaron fotos y reunieron material de referencia para crear los mejores infográficos posibles sobre los encierros esta misma tarde.

John Grimwade encourages people to 'Think! Infographics"

grimwade, originally uploaded by albertocairo2005.

John Grimwade, director of infographics of Condé Nast Traveler and one of the hosts of the Show Don´t Tell Workshop! has made his presentation this morning at 9.00 a.m.: 'Think! Infographics'.

John focus was the 'idea' that lies behind every infographic. He showed lots of examples of great planning from Time, Fortune and Condé Nast. As you may see in John´s recently opened website (still a beta), for him sketches and drafts are extremely important.

He also talked about Nigel Holmes´ upcoming book, 'Wordless Diagrams', a good source of inspiration for professionals and students.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The judging and the workshops begin

sunday, originally uploaded by albertocairo2005.

The print and online judges woke up Sunday morning to a record number of entries to the 13th edition of the Malofiej awards. According to SND-E head Javier Errea, over 1,300 entries were received for the print competition and more than 140 for the online section. By lunchtime, the judges had undertaken preliminary review of the first two categories. They will be finished by wednesday.

In the afternoon, the four people in charge of the workshops (John Grimwade, Juan Velasco, Geoff McGhee and Alberto Cairo) got some work done before the official opening, at 8 p.m. As you may see in the photographs, everybody had a great time here in the AC Ciudad de Pamplona Hotel.

Tomorrow morning we will move to the old part of town and to the local council to gather information for the first infographics project of both the Show Don´t Tell! (print) and Interact Don´t Show! (online): the "encierros" (running of the bulls). Lots of work ahead for the 26 people attending!

(Fotos: (1) Teachers of the workshops, (2) One shot from the presentation, (3) Javier Errea, president of the SND-E, talking to María Moya (, (4) The opening cocktail )