Graphics enrich Delhi editions of The Hindustan Times and The Times of India in more than one ways
Analytical stories, backgrounders, accident sequences, action-picture led sports stories, the key political developments (triggering Aap-BJP war of words), all embellished with quotes from political bigwigs and celebrities keep the imagination of graphic designers in the two leading English national dailies ignited.
Also, the Delhi editions of The Hindustan Times and The Times of India are vying with each other to leverage the opportunity offered by front jackets and half jackets. Having positioned the slot as the most lucrative advertising opportunity, the onus is now on the editorial (or the advertorial) wings of the newspapers to keep the marketability of these slots alive.
Therefore, long after the novelty of these two most expensive ad slots has worn out, the newspapers are compelled to showcase their best-packaged content here. The bid to outdo each other in developing front and half jackets as the most marketable property of the edition is all too evident. So when there are no ads in the half jackets, the readers find the most readable and often knowledge-driven capsules of the edition, powerfully packaged as a graphic. More often than not these are key sports developments of the day. So be it Saina bagging the Australian Open title or Team India’s “Coach ki Khoj”, half jackets emerge as the top grosser of the day.
Top 10 and the World’s Best 10 Approach
At times the “Top 10” or the “World’s Best 10” approach that the print media strategist devised in face of the “Top down approach” of digital platforms go into devising the most reader friendly half jackets in print, despite the content scoring zilch on the key traditional news value of proximity.
Graphic 1: The Top 10 Approach
(Credit Graphic 1: The Hindustan Times Half Jacket, June 15_The Top 10 Approach)
Identifying, Establishing and Analyzing Trends
Moreover, the use of graphics is not restricted to jackets and front jackets alone. One of the most clichéd role assigned to a graphic is to tabulate statistics establishing the trend referred to in the story. A case to the point is the news report on the human toll on Yamuna Expressway. In an excel sheet presentation of the data, the graphic compared last year’s statistics with the current year’s toll and arrived at the % increase in the death toll. Embellished with the most significant dimension of the story(The Yamuna e-way passes through 5 UP districts of which Aligarh saw the biggest jump in deaths), the graphic targets the readers belonging to or traveling to the five districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Graphic 2: Yamuna Expressway
(Credit Graphic 2: June 15, The Hindustan Times, Delhi_Yamuna Expressway)
A front page graphic of the 13th June edition of The Hindustan Times, Delhi illustrates the analytical strength a graphic lends to a trends story. The data (captured as bar charts and pie charts) profiles the social strata, education, and age group of terror suspects linked to Islamic states. The story scores high on the scale of news values and its further enriched by an impactful narrative that hypothesizes class shift in radical terror groups.
(Credit Graphic 3: June 13, The Hindustan Times, Delhi_Dark Shadow of Terror)
Ground Zero View
Graphics have also emerged as a useful tool in encapsulating political turmoil and converting the news report into an “At a glance” property. Arvind Kejriwal’s battle of words over the disqualification of 21 parliamentary secretaries or the office of profit row establishes this not-so-old trick of the trade. In such instances newsrooms churn out knowledge bytes, timelines or who-says-what inputs for a reader friendly graphic. The most impactful of these are the ones that depict the likely outcome of the turmoil, as are the analytical stories that predict the consequence of the political tussles.
Graphic 4: Office of Profit Row
(Credit Graphic 4: June 14, The Hindustan Times, Delhi_Office of Profit Row)
Last but not the least, another unmatched contribution of a graphic is recreation of the accident spots and sequences. Be it a hit-and-run case, the missing Malaysian Airlines episode, or the instance of a CISF jawan rescuing the girl from the escalator of a metro station, the graphics recreate ground zero reality. Not to be missed is the value addition that comes things to remember while using an escalator.
Graphic 5: How the Girl Was Saved
(Credit Graphic 5: June 13, The Times of India, Delhi_ How the Girl Was Saved)
Preeti M Surya,
Dept. of Mass Communication
JIMS Lajpat Nagar