In 1982, when USA Today debuted and first began to present its data-driven “Snapshots” as a key component of its editorial mix, these perky charts and graphs (no one called them infographics yet) were often derided as a primary symptom of journalism’s decline, a way to make trivial information significant, important enough for inclusion on the front page. But as Greg Beato observes, now we look to infographics not as a way to dumb down stories but rather as a means of smartening them up. Charts, graphs, and timelines are the new normal in our post-newspaper world.
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