Sahil Chinoy speaks about graphics in news, data journalism


Sophie Murthy

Students learned about the importance of graphic design in news presentation and how to integrate various graphics into a story during a presentation by Sahil Chinoy, a graphics editor for the New York Times c-block April 5 in the auditorium.

The presentation was part of the Dan Fahey Speaker Series, which brings in speakers to talk to students about helping their community, according to co-director for the Center for Civic Engagement and Service, Claudia Wu.

During the presentation, Chinoy said that graphics are important to a story because they answer questions that wouldn’t be answered otherwise. “Graphics are not decoration, but they make a point in the story,” he said. “They are worthy to look at and break down the information.”

Chinoy gave examples of projects he worked on and the different graphics he used with them, including charts and maps. He showed the example of a map that tracked how every member made it to Congress.

He also said that deciding what type of graphic to use for each story is a difficult process. “It’s just iterations,” he said. “It’s just trying things out. You never get it right the first time.”

He also spoke about how he first became interested in data journalism.

“In high school, I didn’t even know what data journalism was,” he said. Chinoy added that he didn’t have a formal newspaper at his high school and didn’t take graphics classes in college. Chinoy started his career in journalism by working for The Daily Californian, the newspaper at the University of California Berkeley. He learned about graphics in his internships at the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, before making his way over to the New York Times.