No doubt many people like us, find the US presidential elections pretty overwhelming. It’s the length of campaigns, the technicalities, the nuanced language (prebuttal anyone?) and the sheer scale of activity involved. Luckily, The New Yorker launched a brand spanking new feature on their site last week mapping the political landscape in America and the run up to the presidential elections in November this year. We caught up with Amy Davidson, senior editor of The New Yorker, to find out the best and most eye-catching ways to disseminate this complex information.
The idea behind the The Political Scene blog is to provide a definitive place for all presidential coverage – latest news, stats, maps, cartoons, presented in a more easily digestible and hopefully navigable way.
Davidson explains that they “wanted to help orient readers” and “convey The New Yorker’s sensibility” so that readers trust it as a source for intelligently written and curated commentary – “A place to engage in what should feel like (and is) a conversation with New Yorker writers.”
But it’s not just about words, it is also a highly-visual site, with features “animated by the intelligence of their artists”, and this was a conscious reflection of the nature of the campaign being so visual.
Davidson says they learnt from the success of The New Yorker cartoon, “balancing the visual and written word” and introduced this as a dominant feature.
“Every day, we pick a political cartoon from the archive that seems relevant (and funny); there’s also going to be an original, exclusive political cartoon for each of the first six Mondays.”
Its also provided an opportunity for digging out political cartoons from their archive. “We put together a gallery of presidential cartoons, going back to the thirties—one for every president since FDR”.
It’s definitely a big beast to get to know but somehow the task seems less daunting on The Political Scene, what with all the pictures and honest, witty insights. I already feel much more clued up.