Posted by: marshamwhite | March 26, 2010


Have you ever heard of mapping as a form of journalism? In my “Reinventing the News” class, my professor, Dan Kennedy, showed us this unique form of journalism. Mapping is combining facts and information visually and geographically. We looked at the Election maps of the 2008 US Presidential results. One map revealed the election results by each state and which party, Republican or Democrat, won that state. At first glance, one would assume that the Republicans won because it seemed as if the red states outnumbered the blue states. But according to the population cartogram, the map rescales and resizes the states according to the states’ population. Clearly, the blue states outnumber the red states.

In my opinion, I think mapping will remain a great asset of journalism but will strive for importance in the field. The use of mapping for the presidential elections showed me visually where the nation stands politically but neglects the importance of population and size. The cartogram actually puts everything into context when it’s scaled. I think mapping will remain an accessory to journalism because it puts information into prospective visually but I don’t think it can stand on its own. In a story on the nationwide vote in the election, I would write up the story using facts and in addition, include the maps to add credibility. Mapping is a great form of journalism but I think it will continue to be an “addition” to other forms of journalism like print or broadcast.

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