We here at FtM Central like infographics. A blend of design, information, and (these days) digital media—what’s not to love about them? In fact, they are so quintessentially the distillation of information into small, easily digested bites, that we’d love to run one by you on a regular basis, analyzing what does and doesn’t work for each one. There’s an interesting hitch to the idea of running a regular column, though…
Unlike a lolcat picture, or a flashmob video, infographics are almost universally created for a purpose other than pure entertainment. Their creators are often in the employ of a company who wants the graphic to go viral, in order to better market the brand or service in question.
This difference begs the questions: if we run infographics without editorial comment, are we tacitly promoting the services or brands they represent? Does that perceived endorsement damage our journalistic integrity? If we run infographics with comment, would it be unethical to accept submissions from infographic artists, and then expose their tricks and tools in an analysis? How might a brand respond to a negative review? What would be considered a ‘fair use,’ and what would be infringing the copyright of an infographic?
These are all tough questions, and ones we are working on answering. We would love to hear what you think about these questions and these infographics. Please comment.