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Karen Yourish at Malofiej 23

A look at the research effort that the New York Times' graphics desk puts in their amazing projects

March 22, 2015

Karen Yourish featured 2

We continue here our coverage of day one of Malofiej 23. Following Matt Swift’s keynote, it was time for some “New York Times action” with Karen Yourish. She joined the paper in 2013 as a Graphics Editor after more than a decade at The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine. She studied at Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism M.S., and her work has been recognized by numerous awards from SND and Malofiej – including the 2014 Peter Sullivan Award ‘Best of Show’ in print, and this year’s in online.

Those infographics were just two of the featured projects that Karen spoke about in her keynote “Visualizing the News”. This past year was tremendous, in terms of breaking news and planned events for newsrooms worldwide, and we saw some fantastic projects coming out of the Times’ graphics desk.”My goal is to do graphics with the same rigor that goes into a news story, or even more,”, Karen said.

But it was very interesting to see all the research effort that was put in these projects. Reporters won’t always get you the data you need for the graphics, so you need to dedicate some of your resources to research – and thus, the importance of working in places that respect the graphics desk, are open to new ideas, and allow you to manage your own resources.

Those resources used to be geared toward the print versions, but are shifting to the online – a process that sometimes leads to new interesting tools, like, a script for Adobe Illustrator that converts your Illustrator documents into html and CSS developed inside the graphics desk, recently made open source.

And a final note about another excellent point Kate made, regarding the frequent “small” demands sometimes editors and reporters make, like “just add or change this and that”. As Karen puts it, nothing is “just”, everything requires time and lots of hard work. “It’s all easier when writing a story; you can just something generic and vague. In a graphic, you can’t”.

Here are some of the the works showcased by Karen in her presentation:

(Last year’s Peter Sullivan Award ‘Best of Show’ in print, by The New York Times)
Multiple Fronts in the Fight Against ISIS, by  The New York Times
(The ISIS coverage by The New York Times)
 Partial screen capture of the interactive infographic How the Speed of Response Defined the Ebola Crisis
(The Ebola crisis coverage by The New York Times)
Partial screen capture of the interactive infographic In Gaza, a Pattern of Conflict
(The Gaza strip coverage by The New York Times)


Keep up with Karen’s updates on Twitter (@karenyourish), and connect with her on LinkedIn. And we’ll see in a bit, with more Malofiej23.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.