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

"I’ve enjoyed working with Caroline on a data visualisation project for a complex £1.5m government funded programme running across Birmingham and Leicester. It’s been a high pressure programme with tough targets to meet, so finding the time to collect and make sense of all the data, from a range of sources, has been difficult. With Caroline’s help we managed to prioritise the key information and she then presented it in a clear, easy to grasp manner. Just what we needed. I found her dedicated, easy to work with and very fair on pricing. I would happily work with her again and I commend her and her work to you" Dave Conroy, Programme Manager, Timebank