Visitors to The Washington Post’s home page Monday saw a GIF that illustrated the estimated wealth and financial risk of various members of Congress. The GIF brought to life a graphic for our Capitol Assets series, which highlights the overlap between lawmakers’ personal finances and their work on Capitol Hill.
The moving image displayed on the home page is among the first GIF images used there by The Post.
GIFs have made increasing rounds on the Internet recently, in part because of comical Tumblr blogs and social news sites like BuzzFeed. As media Web site Poynter noted in August, mainstream news organizations have begun to experiment with GIFs –The Atlantic Wire recapped Olympic triumph (and sadness) with its clever “GIF Guides.” And The Guardian recently partnered with Tumblr to present live GIFs around the first presidential debate.
Graphics Editor Emily Chow, who created the Capitol Assets GIF, said the image format presented a large-scale graphic in a compelling way that made sense to readers.
“The challenge with such a large graphic is that there is a lot of information to digest, and, in this case, a static image of dots laid across a grid wasn’t going to tell our readers what this graphic was about,” Chow said. “The GIF solution aimed to highlight how our graphic can be used and show what type of information is behind the story.”
As for the future of GIFs on The Post home page, Chow said the key factor is whether a static promo image does the story justice.
What do you think of the GIF? Tell us in the comments if you’d like to see more moving images in our coverage.