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The Functional Art - Interview with Steve Duenes and Xaquin G.V.

Updated: May 7, 2019

In this interview, Steve and Xaquin talks about teamwork in the New York Times. In a team, the culture of teamwork matters more the individual's ability - an open conversation among people with diverse backgrounds and mindset can always provide different and richer perspectives to reveal the details that would be ignored by an individual. It's important to have an open mind to accept advice and also always ask for suggestions from people from different fields. Also, they talks about the benefits of high frequency reporting from diverse sources as they believe that this is one of the factors that benefit their group in The New York Times. Because infographic designers are not only those who deal with the form of art - they are filling arts with a soul, that is the content of stories. Steve and Xaquin also gave some suggestions in what constitutes a good infographic designer team. The first thing is that everyone in this team should have passion for journalism and sufficient curiosity. In addition, a team of infographics needs a mix of generalists and specialists since topics they will be dealing with vary widely - some may require more specific solutions in a give field while some may require more visual improvisation. In the end, they stress about the quality that a good teammate should have - to bring something special to the team.


This interview makes me to reflect a lot on myself. I listed a list of good qualities that I learned from this interview: 1. Open-Minded 2. Being willing to talk to people with different background and always to ask for suggestions 3. Passion for journalism 4. Sufficient Curiosity 5. Be able to bring something special to a team. I think I'm good at quality number 1, 2 and 5. During my process of doing my two data visualization projects, I talked about my project to my friends who majors in Communication, History, Computer Science and Design. I was very excited every time after I received different suggestions and questions from them - it was those questions that encouraged me to find more data to enrich my stories. What I need to work on now is quality No. 3 and 4, I do feel like I always stop fast when I am reading a story and take what I think I understand as the main concept of the story. How do I improve this skill? I decide to start from retelling the article I read to my friends - I will take notes of the questions that they ask me after the story and also to figure out why they ask those questions.

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