These are challenging times for newspapers and magazines. The Internet has caused dramatic changes in the media landscape that have resulted in declining circulation rates for many traditional print publications. At the same time, a troubled economy and greater competition from websites have undercut advertising revenue. Many news organizations have been forced to downsize to remain economically viable.
Given these obstacles, it is especially gratifying when editors and publishers recognize the value of investing in good cartography. A map can illuminate a story in ways simply not possible with words alone. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good map is worth at least a million.
The Washington Post’s Republican Primary Tracker features a series of maps that reflect solid journalistic reporting, fascinating data analysis, and user-friendly technology. The interactive maps show places the Republican presidential candidates are visiting in the early caucus and primary states, a county-by-county summary of the Iowa caucus results, and demographic analysis of each candidate’s supporters.
As the candidates leave the cold prairies of Iowa and head to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and beyond, good maps such as these will allow citizens to follow along and better understand this important political process. Kudos to the Washington Post and other news outlets that invest in maps when covering the election and the other major news stories of the day.