Iconothon: Visualizing the News, from Fracking to Dark Money

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Super PACs. Drones. Gerrymandering. Dark Money. How do you quickly illustrate these concepts in a way that is meaningful and impactful to an audience of different education levels and cultural backgrounds?  That was the challenge set out before a group of 60 volunteers at an Iconathon The Noun Project hosted at The New York Times last February. 

Journalists, editors, graphic designers, web developers and engaged citizens brainstormed and sketched ideas for icons frequently needed throughout news editorials and applications. The goal of creating these symbols is to help guide readers through the in-depth stories investigative journalists help uncover, to provide a graphical shorthand that helps navigate readers through complicated concepts, as well as to help illustrate infographics that help people better understand important facts and correlations.

"A new set of icons for news will help graphics editors and news application developers use graphical shorthand in place of lengthy explanation—the proverbial thousand words—and to tell meaningful and impactful stories more gracefully and graphically," said Scott Klein, Editor of News Applications at ProPublica.  

The final set of 22 Investigative Journalism symbols have been released by The Noun Project as public domain for anyone to use.  The Iconathon was sponsored by Knight-Mozilla OpenNews and The New York Times, with collaboration from ProPublica and Hacks/Hackers NYC.

The investigative journalism symbols:

Images courtesy of The Noun Project