A morbidly good infographic

By Steve Outing

A few days ago Charles Apple pointed to what I think is a brilliant — if controversial — infographic by Todd Trumbull of the San Francisco Chronicle.

It shows graphically at what location on the Golden Gate Bridge suicide jumpers — of which there have been more than 1,200 known ones — leaped off the structure. It’s absolutely fascinating information, presented in a way that an infographic can do best. It’s interesting that more jumpers used the east side looking toward the city than the west, looking out to the Pacific. I never would have guessed that some people jumped onto land, not water.

This is basically a static print graphic, and was presented on the Chronicle’s website in the same way — no multimedia or interaction. It’s a great infographic as is, but it got me thinking if the possibilities of online presentation could improve it even further. The one element I can think of is to turn the numbers (the dots, each representing a suicide) into the human story. Each dot when moused over could bring up a pop-up with information known about that specific death — perhaps even linking to stories about the bridge suicides from the Chronicle archives.

Again, I don’t mean to take anything away from what’s a great infographic. As an alumni of the Chronicle’s graphics department (I was there during the early ’90s), it’s great to see wonderful work from the news artists there today.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!