Relational diagrams showing increased partisanship in the U.S. Senate as a video: how cool is that? (H/t to The Economist, which says that it “illustrates what many people feel: that American politics resembles a diseased brain, with almost no neural pathways between the hemispheres.”)
It makes me want to revisit our relational diagrams of the shifting alliances of Toronto’s city council under Rob Ford.
I wasn’t happy with the way the component of our series on gun control loopholes on magazine capacity (how magazine limits for centre-fire semi-automatic rifles have shifted from five rounds to ten, then 15) came out, back in January – I thought it was the most important part of the package, but it got the least reader interest, and I could see why – it was basically a picture of a grey steel box with an explanation.
So we put our minds to the question of how to tell the story better. The answer seemed to be props – a mixture of showing and telling – so I bought two magazines and two sets of inert dummy rounds, 20 of 5.56 and six of .50 Beowulf. Then we set out to explain the story with a mixture of text and video, aiming the explanation at readers with a very basic or no knowledge of firearms.
We ended up with four videos embedded in the story, aimed at physically demonstrating how the loopholes work. I think it worked a lot better than the original, though it became obvious that I haven’t done a lot of video, and hadn’t filled a magazine in many years (IIRC since the summer of 1994).