When people ask me what I do and I tell them I’m a graphic journalist, I often see their eyes widen a little as if to say “You’re a what?”. It’s not a common job description. The first time I heard the term I thought it a perfect blend of two of my passions, graphics and storytelling. It was the closest thing I could find to my visual storytelling.

It’s interesting that Wikipedia puts graphic journalism together with comics journalism (think graphic novels). Simplifying the definition to: “..a form of journalism that covers news or non-fiction events using the framework of comics – a combination of words and drawn images.” I certainly don’t draw comics.

I do use the power of words and drawn images to express stories and concepts. In the Hooded Utilitarian the description gets a little broader and includes examples of some key people who are working in the field of graphic journalism. One of them is a favourite of mine, Wendy McNaughton who captures life with her quirky, detailed drawings and her excellent eye for story. The opportunities for graphic journalists are endless and exciting.

This example of graphic journaling is based on a podcast by Marie Forleo. Her messages really resonated with me especially at the start of this new career journey. I think many people can relate to a fear of doing something new, even it if it’s not related to your career.

The graphic reinforces the key points Marie shared and helps to quickly convey the essence of her message. Because it’s visual, it helps with retention as well. Her podcast was 15 minutes long and yet in a few short minutes you can scan this visual story and get the gist of it.

Not to confuse you but this kind of notetaking can also be called Sketchnotes. Typically done “live” when a graphic journalist  is in a room while someone is talking. The graphic above was done with the luxury of being able to pause the podcast while I grabbed a new pen, sipped my coffee and thought about the layout. It certainly makes for a sharper overall image.

You can see a live” sketchnote example of a presentation by Mike Vardy about increasing productivity. I was honoured to be featured on Mike’s podcast recently, talking about the Staying Power of Sketchnotes. Hope you have a few minutes to check it out.

Have you got a message you are trying to convey to your community and want a succinct way to share it, after you’ve left the room or after people have signed off? I’d be happy to help.

Thanks for sharing this with anyone you think might be interested in visual storytelling. And if you haven’t subscribed yet to this newsletter, please come on over and do so.

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