Debt limit

July 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

debt limit wall street journal
On the same day, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post published graphics highlighting tough choices the federal government would need to make if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Aug. 2: The U.S. would need to decide which bills to pay and which to skip. The Wall Street Journal’s graphic is above and the Washington Post’s is below.
washington post debt limit
The Washington Post also published an interactive graphic in which the user can chose which federal bills to pay with the limited funds that would be available.

Both publications turned to a recent analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which estimated daily receipts and payments based on publicly available data from daily Treasury statements. The report provides specificity that brings home what this crisis could mean for our country.

bipartisan policy center debt limit analysis


Gas prices

December 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

When gas prices begin to rise, news organizations typically begin to track the costs over time and across the nation, as shown in this 2006 Washington Post map above. The AAA Fuel Gauge Report ( provides these state-level prices daily. It also offers them by metro area if you need to make a more localized comparison.

Charts from the AAA Fuel Gauge site:


For historical prices, you need to go to the Energy Information Administration’s Petroleum Navigator (, which gives weekly gas prices for more than a decade.

Circles of influence

November 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

For years, the Washington Post has produced “inner circle” charts that portray the individuals surrounding powerful political figures, such as President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and now Republican Leader John Boehner.

The diagrams show levels of influence as concentric rings, and categories, such as staff or college classmates, as wedges of the circle. The graphics reporter assembling the diagram needs a deep knowledge of the politician in order to assign a level of influence to each associate. The connections and coalitions are equally hard to arrange and often require reliable sources near to the politician to help with the placement.

The final trick is to get photographs of the dozens of people in the diagram, many of whom may be obscure despite their connections to powerful people.

Evolution and creationism

August 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

No comment here. I just thought you might enjoy comparing graphics on evolution and creationism. The one above is from the Washington Post. Below, from

Quick reference page

February 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Alex Johnson, a project reporter at and Washington Post alum, maintains this page of search fields for common online reporting tools:

Definitely worth a bookmark.

Taking apart the stimulus bill

August 17, 2009 § Leave a comment


This graphic is a bit dated now, but it still serves as an inspiring example of how you can take a dry numerical analysis and make it come alive.

It shows at a glance where government stimulus money would go and when it would be spent. It is also a beautiful functional design piece that evokes falling rain and flowing water.

Here is the report that Laura Stanton and Karen Yourish relied on for the data in the graphic.

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