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Discussion: Lack of maps in news stories?

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 16, 2019 11:40 PM # 
Is it just my imagination, or has there been an increasing trend away from including maps in news stories (which one would think would benefit from their inclusion)? If so why? Do editors figure there's no point since people don't understand them? This article is the 'dictionary definition' of a story that should have a map.
Dec 17, 2019 12:19 AM # 
well the Guardian tried earlier this year but had many spelling errors and apparently North America also has a few new Great Lakes in the mid west and Prairies.
Dec 17, 2019 12:34 AM # 
Why show a map when you can show fishing boats instead? If you show fishing boats in any news stories in Australian news people will get fired up because everyone knows we need to turn the boats around.
Dec 17, 2019 4:05 AM # 
We don't get maps but we do get endless charts/graphics/incredibly important pics to EXPLAIN what is being said (such as a pile of $20 notes to emphasise money is being spoken of; or raindrops falling graphic when storms are mentioned.)
Dec 17, 2019 4:11 AM # 
I suspect that having a cartographer on staff is too expensive these days...
Dec 17, 2019 10:30 AM # 
As someone who's on the other side a bit you get to see some of the things TV will do in the name of a picture. Often in my case this involves pointing at a screen whilst talking with one of my colleagues, usually about something completely irrelevant to the story (TV is just looking for the visuals).

(Did my first proper press conference today - not too scary, but hard not to get distracted by the sign language interpreter...).
Dec 17, 2019 10:42 AM # 
I was just thinking this the other day! I find myself having to go to Google maps more and more while reading the news just to figure out where they're talking about.
Dec 18, 2019 12:43 AM # 
If any of you are in journalism and want to make maps, the datawrapper tool can help:
Dec 18, 2019 1:43 AM # 
A general trend is dumbing is easier to manipulate the uneducated
Dec 18, 2019 7:09 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@blairtrewin: Since I hadn't seen any photos of you before I checked out that press conference, and initially guessed that Russel had to be you, since he looked the most like an orienteer.

Anyway, now I know what you look like, and you did do a good job in that presser. :-)
Dec 18, 2019 7:23 AM # 
Blair is the one in the blue shirt.
Dec 18, 2019 7:25 AM # 
Another way of thinking about it is - If I read read a news story and want to see a map of the area in question I just go Google Maps. So why bother drawing a map specifically for the news story when there is a perfectly good global map easily available which in all likelihood is way better than any map that might be produced specifically for the article.
Dec 18, 2019 3:04 PM # 
Well, there is the possibility that the news map might have additional relevant info that isn't on Google Maps. Like the location of the forest fire, or the incoming storm, or the various terrorist incidents.
Dec 19, 2019 4:53 PM # 
Big Jon:
My view is that Google maps is pretty crap - an almost complete lack of detail apart from roads. I guess that is what the majority use it for - to drive somewhere. but they would add little to a story that involved anything off a road - just a blank bit of screen...
Dec 19, 2019 9:05 PM # 
Sure JJ , some times a special map would add something - but in the example Ross posted about the salmon there were no places mentioned that I could not find on Google maps. So maybe the current rule of thumb is there is no need to add a map to an article if everything mentioned is viewable on Google maps.

I think Google maps is pretty amazing really - the whole world mapped at that level of detail. If you use 'satellite' view and 'terrain' view and where available street view you can often get a pretty good feel for places.

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