A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SDX Awards: Art/Graphics, informational graphics, Los Angeles Times

By Quill

The Los Angeles Times turned its informational graphics creation into its own Olympic sport for the 2004 games in Athens.

“The Times’ graphic coverage of the Olympics kicked off several months before the games with an in-depth look at the city of Athens in our Travel section,” said Les Dunseith, graphic editor. “We followed with preview coverage in sports and in a special section, including a look at the history and evolution of the Olympics. Once the games began, we turned our attention to producing graphics that closely complimented the stories and photos of the day, highlighting a sport that would kick off soon or showing readers how a particular competition was won or lost.”

The graphics required long hours and lots of manpower, including the talents of graphics coordinator Joel Greenburg; graphics reporter Brady MacDonald; senior artists Lorena Iniguez, Raoul Ranoa and Doug Stevens; graphic artists Leslie Carlson, Paul Duginski, Mark Hafer, Matt Moody, Perry Perez, Rebecca Perry and Paul Rodriguez; cartographer Victor Kotowitz; deputy graphics editor Ross Toro; and Deputy Managing Editor Joseph Hutchinson.

“Each day over the 17-day period, Times sportswriters – sometimes as late as 4:30 a.m. Athens time – worked tirelessly with the sports graphics coordinator to ensure that all the information was accurate and up to date,” said editor John Carroll. “On the other end, graphic artists and editors crafted that information into attractive, newsworthy graphics.”

Months of planning went into the newspaper’s graphical coverage of the Olympics. Between regular duties, artists spent weeks on larger illustrations.

“Once the games began, of course, most of the graphics were done in a few hours, on deadline,” said Dunseith. “We wanted our coverage to be uniquely representative of the Los Angeles Times. One way we accomplished this was by looking for unique angles and insights. We also insisted on a consistent visual style – an effort that wasn’t always easy, especially with more than a dozen artists involved over several weeks.”

Judges chose the Times’ coverage of the Olympic games for its content, simplicity and crisp execution.

“The graphics were delightfully spare, presenting only information necessary to inform – not impress – the reader,” said the judges. “Each graphic had clean lines, well-edited text and sharp imagery.”