Barmann said that maps in particular are vital to election coverage. He pointed out that Lincoln Chafee, the independent candidate who won the governorship, actually won far fewer towns than his Republican opponent, John Robitaille. Chafee (represented by blue) won the more populous cities and the coastal towns, which tend to be wealthier, while Robitaille won the lower-income and more rural areas.

“Just by glancing at this map, you can see that, whereas, if you had a table or some charts it would be much harder to come to that conclusion,” said Barmann. “In this particular case, it’s just a wonderful way to tell a story.”

Darla Cameron of the St. Petersburg Times echoed that sentiment yesterday. “Yes, I think if you can look at something like this geographically, you might as well,” she said, and then laughed. “Although, that might not be the most astute thing to say. I’m pretty tired right now.”

*[Update: This sentence previously made reference to some reassignments of the newspaper’s graphic arts staff; however, these are irrelevant to Barmann’s work on this project. The reference has been removed, and the sentence has been altered to be more clear.

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner