A guide to graphic Petraeus explainers

Micah, I can't pull off a Venn diagram, but here's a quick guide to graphic guides to the Petraeus affair.

BuzzFeed's visual casts the main characters against what appears to be an Army Class A uniform green lapel. Nice touch (though Petraeus' own dress lapel offered graphic designers little negative space). The Shirtless FBI Agent is represented by a medal featuring a headless male torso wearing briefs. Excellent. The arrows look like brass. Four stars.
Gawker's chart arranges the players in a Pentagon formation, with Jill Kelley's sister Natalie Khawam in one far corner and New York Times "Ethicist" Chuck Klosterman in the other. I was surprised and delighted by both editorial choices. Shirtless FBI Agent is represented by a headless male torso wearing what appears to be trousers. That element adds Shirtless FBI Agent's connections to U.S. Reps. Eric Cantor and Dave Reichert, information missing from BuzzFeed's graphic. Arrows, however, are a little boring. Three stars.
New York magazine's graphic, too, employs a Pentagon conceit. The photographic work of Tampa Bay Times reporter Amy Scherzer continues to inform the nation, via the image of Khawam. Shirtless FBI Agent is represented by a man in a suit brandishing a badge with a question mark where his head should go, though. And the pentagon shape is squished to accommodate the Cantor-Reichert information, which is valuable but undermines the title of this graphic somewhat. The captions explaining the arrows between players, however, are very good. Just narrowly misses being a three-star graphic.

David Petraeus Affair Photos juxtaposes headlines from the Petraeus affair against images of a different disaster: Hurricane Sandy's devastation. "The Petraeus scandal is dominating the 'news' as a real national crisis is being ignored," the site's author explains to a confused consumer. Two stars.

Some newspapers' fronts Wednesday used graphic explainers, too (all images courtesy the Newseum):

Another Pentagon treatment, and a pretty good pun, from RedEye
Another pentagon shape, from The Olympian
Boxes and lines from The Indianapolis Star
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Kind of an unfortunate shape for this sex scandal graphic
Clean, elegant treatment from The Virginian-Pilot

More Petraeus:
Jill Kelley's calls to Tampa police try to invoke her rights as an "honorary consul general" to get press away from her property. | A good Tampa Bay Times piece about Kelley and Khawam's financial troubles, including a fantastic photo of an oil painting of Kelley and her husband, Scott in a gilded frame, again taken by Scherzer. | Jon Fischer observes press camped out outside the Washington, D.C. house where Paula Broadwell is staying: An "ABC cameraman and one from WUSA9 were debating how invasive is too invasive when filming a person of interest in a private home," he writes. | Joe Coscarelli outlines the "Media’s Five Stages of David Petraeus Grief" | A good and useful graphical timeline by The Washington Post's Laura Stanton, Julie Tate and Karen Yourish (The Washington Post)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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