Behind the Scenes: She's at the Top of the Charts
Posted: 3/18/2014  |  By: Nu Yang
E&P: How was the decision to hire a chart expert conceived?
DiNardo: We hired Hilary not just to do charts, even though her charts are creative and interesting, and she was capturing ideas on social media, but she will be writing more with the occasional chart, covering Boston area politics and issues. She’s a voice that can get wider exposure.

What kind of readers do you expect Sargent to attract? Younger, social media-saavy readers.

How was this position received by other newsroom editors? Hilary is a former intern at the Boston Globe, and there was support to bring her in to try something different.

How can charts add to the editorial topics you want to explore?  It will depend on the subject, if a chart’s the best way to tell a story. We want to utilize charts on the site and in the paper, but it’s about creating the chart, then finding a place for it.

How will his new hire affect advertising and readership? Hilary brings in a built-in audience, so we hope she brings in new readers. 

We also asked ChartGirl herself to join in on the conversation.

E&P: What’s so amazing about charts?
Sargent: Charts are a useful way to tell a complicated story.

You’ve created charts from Taylor Swift’s love life to the Boston Marathon bombing. How can you tell a story will need a chart?
It’s an instinct. You can tell when you’re reading a story. The idea of a chart is supposed to help provide context to readers.

How long does it take you to make a chart from idea to final product? For example, can you break down your ‘Covering the Coverage’ chart?
It depends on how much research I need to do. It took me two days to create ‘Cover the Coverage’ from beginning to end. I was blocks away from the marathon when it happened, so I was following the coverage. Also, I have no graphic design background, so I make these charts because I wish someone else had made them.

How do infographics help with storytelling? Good infographics should be useful to the reader. Bad infographics are not focused on the content; they’re more concerned about looking pretty, so they don’t make the story easier to understand.

With your background, what do want to bring to the Globe?
For now, I will be doing more writing, but in the voice of ChartGirl. I would like to bring in charts soon. It’s an exciting vision for the site and there’s a growing appreciation to tell stories in different ways.