Anatomy of an Infographic: Where’s Werritty

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Anatomy of an Infographic: Where’s Werritty

This series of blog posts will go behind-the-scenes of some of my favourite portfolio pieces, revisiting the challenges and solutions. 


INTRO: It’s an oldie but definitely one of my favourites. I gave this a refresh a few years back as it was looking a little tired.

BACKGROUND: In 2011 the Guardian newspaper released a story about then-Defence Minister Liam Fox. Specifically it questioned the access his friend Adam Werritty was getting to defence meetings across the world whilst claiming to be Fox’s adviser. The investigation uncovered a series of unsanctioned meetings involving Werritty and Fox subsequently resigned.

BRIEF: This was a personal project. I had just handed in my Masters in Online Journalism final project and used this as a practice piece of data journalism.

THE DATA: The Guardian data blog published an MOD list of all the meetings between Adam Werritty and Liam Fox. That list is still online and available here

THE PROCESS

  • Clean the data: I wanted to create a simple yet effective visualisation, so for the purposes of this I simplified the data by removing the US states named, and merging them into USA.
  • Create the map: I imported the dataset into Tableau and generated a simple circle map – the larger the circle, the more days Werritty spent there. This was quick and effective. I then ‘printed’ the map as a PDF, and imported this into Illustrator, where I could tinker with it further.
  • Create the timeline:  Similarly, I use the data in Tableau to create a timeline with a coloured square foe each date – the colour decided by the country Werritty was in. Again, I ‘printed’ as a PDF and imported into Illustrator.
  • Create the final image: Once in Illustrator I could begin to connect the map to the timeline with a series of lines. I added the county names, the dates and a darker map to add to the visual appeal.

About Author

Caroline Beavon

A communication professional with 12 years journalism experience and a genuine passion for new technologies. An experienced blogger and social media user

"A really informative session with great coverage and practice in Tableau, Piktochart and RAW" Infographics training attendee, Oxfordshire County Council