30 Apr 2012

Sketches from White House State Dinners

Elisabeth Bumiller’s recent profile of Jeremy Bernard, the first man and openly gay person to be the White House social secretary, used an interesting dataset: a list of everyone who has attended a state dinner in the Obama administration. I don’t have a ton of experience with Styles (or with “style”, for that matter), but this was a good chance to do something different with a new section. Except not that different, since charts are pretty much the only trick.

Alicia Parlapiano and I ended up using a sort of spiral plot, which we then just joined together in illustrator. I remembered that we had used a similar technique in one of my first graphics at the Times to visualize which countries were good at which sports. (Then, as now, Amanda did the hard stuff.) So I ported the code from Actionscript to use for this, while also sizing for frequency of visits.

Here’s the sketch:


And how it looked in print:


Matt Ericson and Amanda Cox helped out on a late night to make a fun interactive version, perfect for gawking at all those people who were invited instead of you. 

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