Infographics Getting People Into the Crandall Canyon Mine

An interesting ode to newspaper infographics from the Salt Lake Tribune that’s all about how graphics used to illustrate the Utah mine disaster have helped people understand the story far better than through just the countless written pieces in the paper. And as the Salt Lake paper has the story in their own backyard, they talk about their staff designers doing all they can to be at the forefront of explaining every possible angle and part of the story, visually, in helping the community understand what’s going on sometimes as close as a few miles away.

For instance, on Thursday, Tribune graphic artists Amy Lewis and Rhonda Hailes Maylett produced a graphic that illustrated “bumps and bounces” in mines and defined terms such as “overburden,” “bump” and “heave.”

A graphic like that one serves several functions – including the provision of quick definitions for readers making their way through the mine collapse stories of the day and the provision of a graphic element that offers information not in the various stories.

Graphics Editor Todd Adams explains, “There are some stories – like the Crandall Canyon mine collapse – that beg for some visual reference in people’s minds. But a lot of readers don’t have any visual reference; they’ve never been in a mine. So it’s incumbent upon visual journalists, such as our graphic artists, to give readers a visual reference with which to ‘see’ the story.”

As a little aside, go read that very first comment to the story. The writer’s photo is the first thing we noticed too.