Why News Graphics Are Vital to Storytelling

Broadcast viewers often need graphics to help understand complex news stories, whether it’s a breakdown of an employment report or an outline of key players on Capitol Hill. News graphics require a collaborative effort between producers and graphics artists, according to MSNBC senior operations producer John Wilson. He has worked in news for over three decades, including more than 17 years at MSNBC.  

Watch the video above to hear Wilson’s top tips for news graphics, or read a summary below.  

Basic tips for graphics

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1. Use clear text: Make sure the wording is simple and accurate.

2. Check for accuracy: Sourcing should be correct and clearly attributed.  

3. Differentiate using color: Colors can emphasize significant aspects of a report, whether in text or icons. Make sure your color choices are accessible.  

4. Use active words: They are effective for conveying news quickly on banners and other headline graphics.  

5. Keep graphics simple: Don’t make graphics overly complicated and avoid distractions. 


The future of graphics

Viewers are used to augmented reality in sports broadcasts, but recently news programs have also experimented with AR in day-to-day reports. Last year, MSNBC used AR while covering Election Night and the Artemis launch. AR is still a heavy lift for artists, but it will become a quicker process as technology improves. 

AR in NBC News coverage of the 2022 Artemis launch.

A selection of NBC News graphics