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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Murray Dick
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This research finds that the emergence of infographics as a regular phenomenon in UK news can be traced back to The Daily Express of the mid-1950s. These “Expressographs” were often used not as a means of conveying data accurately and objectively, but in order to propagate the paper's editorial line, and to further Lord Beaverbook's political interests. A series of editorial narratives are established via the literature on The Daily Express, and its proprietor Lord Beaverbrook. These narratives are used as a framework to analyse statistical infographics published in The Daily Express between January 1956 and October 1959, by means of a combined content analysis and structural semiotic analysis. Best practice, as espoused in the information design literature, is used to identify misleading graphical methods in the sample, which were then analysed in the context of the editorial narratives identified. This study finds that infographics in UK news were the product of a lavishly financed organisation whose key decision-makers were deeply concerned with the impact of the visual in news. The purpose of these infographics was to perpetuate their employer's idiosyncratic view of how the world should be. Occupational norms and practices may account for some of the biases identified, but cannot account for the breadth, range and consistency of bias found across the sample, which constitutes an example of mid-twentieth-century propaganda.
Author(s): Dick M
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journalism Studies
Print publication date: 01/03/2015
Online publication date: 07/01/2014
Acceptance date: 01/01/1900
ISSN (print): 1461-670X
ISSN (electronic): 1469-9699
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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