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May 09 2011



Last week, we saw how some of the “worst offenders” explained the Osama bin Laden story with fictional graphics.

As soon as I started to post some tuitts in my Twitter account @GINER, I saw that many colleagues from many countries reacted in the same way, among them ny friend Alberto Cairo, the infographics editor of EPOCA magazine in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

With Alberto, we wrote “six basic rules” that must be observed to deliver real news with graphics.

Then I contacted Barry Sussman, an INNOVATION Senior Consultant that now serves as editor of the Harvard University Nieman Watchdog Project and he offered that website to post the “check-list” with a short article, and a first list with 58 colleagues from 22 countries immediately endorsed the statement.

Claude Erbsen in New York edited the “six rules” and Barry Sussman in Washington DC edited the full article.

A few minutes ago all this was posted at the Nieman Watchdog website with the same illustration that leads this post, as it fits the purpose and sense of this statement: the front page of the William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal “explaining” the news from Cuba.

And we included a few examples from some of the “worst offenders.”

Like this one from UOL in Brazil:

This from the Daily Mail in the UK:

This one from CBS News:

This one from ABC in Madrid:

This one from the Hindustan Times in India:

This one from NMA News in Taiwan:

Or this from JT France:

You can find an extensive selection with wise comments of Gert K Nielsen about some of the best and worst infographics in his blog VisualJournalism.

But, more important, we just wanted to stress five ideas:

  • Facts ,not fiction, is what drives Journalism.
  • Visual Journalism is not Show Business.
  • Editors must lead this battle against fake information.
  • Visual journalists must resist any pressure to deliver graphics “at any cost.”
  • And infographics are not a substitute when we don’t have real information.

This what I learned from Alejandro Malofiej, Miguel Urabayen, Peter Sullivan, Mario Tascón, John Grimwade, Chiqui Esteban, Nigel Holmes or Javier Zarracina, and many of the best visual journalists of the world.

And we cannot accept less.

• If you agree with these convictions, please add your signature in the comments section of the Nieman Watchdog, spread the word between your newsrooms, and we will include your names in the next editions of this first wave of endorsements.

February 25 2010




Jonathan Stray checks for the Nieman Journalism Lab the real sources of the recent breaking-news story about the China/Google hacking case and finds that”

– Out of 121 unique stories, 13 (11 percent) contained some amount of original reporting. I counted a story as containing original reporting if it included at least an original quote. From there, things get fuzzy. Several reports, especially the more technical ones, also brought in information from obscure blogs. In some sense they didn’t publish anything new, but I can’t help feeling that these outlets were doing something worthwhile even so. Meanwhile, many newsrooms diligently called up the Chinese schools to hear exactly the same denial, which may not be adding much value.

- Only seven stories (six percent) were primarily based on original reporting. These were produced by The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Tech News World, Bloomberg, Xinhua (China), and the Global Times (China).

- Of the 13 stories with original reporting, eight were produced by outlets that primarily publish on paper,  four were produced by wire services, and one was produced by a primarily online outlet. For this story, the news really does come from newspapers.

So how are we going co cover real news without original reporting?

And who is going to pay for real reporters?

And real journalism?

Let’s get real.

January 15 2010



Mario García, the well known Cuban American newspaper designer, writes in his blog after a review on how the international press has done presenting the news from Haiti, and ends his post asking about the Haitian papers.

“Although I have tried to get a pdf of a Haitian newspaper, I have not been able to do so. Perhaps they are not even publishing, but if anyone has access to a Haitian newspaper, please do send me a pdf.”

Are you kidding?

Here in Wales, we had a lot of snow in the recent weeks, so milk was not deliver, posted mail was late, food supplies didn’t arrive… but John, our loyal and brave newspaper boy (that must be in his late 50’s), delivered the papers to our front door everyday.

With no excuses.

He is my hero!

But to ask about what the papers in Haiti are doing is too much.

Just go to the web and see what they have online.

It’s as tragic as the earthquake.

This country, yes, is very poor, so you cannot expect too much for their on and off line new operations.

And here is the proof from today’s homepages.

Life as normal?

Soft news day for the Haiti Star:

haiti star

Here, at least, the front a picture tells the real story:

Haiti en marche

The Haiti Progress, an “alternative” voice, is almost out of business, just talking about…Peru:

Haiti Progress

The Haitian Times is in real news business, but continues offering appropriate advertising when the population goes almost naked, and I suppose not too much interesting in lose weight:


Le Nouvelliste does better than the rest, but still keeps a non sense poll that sounds like asking a dying country if they prefer to have holidays in the French Riviera or Cascais:

Le Nouvelliste

And they have created this special bare website that delivers real pictures and real news from the chaos.


So I don’t know Mario about any print papers here, but don’t expect too much.

If, as Leo Bogart used to say, “the crisis of newspapers is always the crisis of their cities”, Haiti is a dead matket.

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