Emmanuel Quartey

Curious about cities, patterns, media, and marginalia.

Comics/Illustrated Journalism is exactly what it sounds like - journalism through the medium of sequential art.

I stumbled on this video of a 2012 Online News Association session yesterday called Blowing Up the Funny Pages: Why Comics Make for Powerful Journalism and got lost in a rabbit-hole of links relating to the illustrated journalism space.

Here’re some interesting bits from the video (summarized):

ON WHY EDITORS SHOULD USE ILLUSTRATED JOURNALISM:

Erin Polgreen (Founder, Symbolia Magazine):

  • Illustrated stories are easily amplified on social networks, especially the really visual ones like Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook.
  • There is evidence from news organizations that use comics or infographics as a vehicle for a story that readers who’re looking at a comic engage with a site up to a minute more.
  • Access: comics can illuminate places where recording devices aren’t allowed. Additionally, people who would otherwise be resistant to cameras (or unwilling to speak at all) react very positively to a sketchbook.
  • Arguably, comics humanize people in a way that a text or photos alone cannot.
Susie Cagle (Freelance journalist):
"It was the kind of interview that I don’t think I would ever have been able to do with this kind of emotional depth if I were working in another medium."
Dan Archer (Comics journalist, Archcomix):
It allows for interesting kinds of collaboration. People can pull out panels, repurpose them, turn them into audio etc.
Wendy MacNaughton (Illustrator):
The feedback I’ve gotten is that for people who feel as if they’re being barraged by information on the internet, a comic is a relief. It’s an exhale. It makes people stop and slow down, and they read it all the way through.

WHICH STORIES WORK WELL AS COMICS?

Dan Archer:
Stories that could benefit from a character-driven approach. When you need to put a human face to something.
Susie Cagle:
I think stories about money, science and numbers lend themselves well to this medium. These are topics that can be very dry, and illustrations are a way to make them accessible.
Erin Polgreen:
For Symbolia, we have an editorial policy that all stories need to have a sense of place and narrative. There needs to be a central character or narrative being explored.

Relevant: Dan Archer’s fantastic comic, What is Comics Journalism

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