Examples of Early Internet News Graphics rotating image
Interactive Graphics for ABCNews.com by Mark Bloch

In the late 1990s, I worked for ABCNews.com's new website which was being created from scratch, day to day, by some very creative people. It would be a couple years before the corporate wing of ABCNews even knew they had a website. Several years later Sam Donaldson, or one of his bosses or underlings, figured it out and Donaldson eventually hosted one of the first mainstream news podcasts on our site. But most of the graphics on this page (right) were from before that era when Internet news was young.

Here are some of the clickable graphics I made there in collaboration with the journalists and coders on staff there (although we in the art department were pretty good at programming our own HTML and Javascript and even Flash which was emerging then.) (Also, I should add that our partner in those days was Starwave, the Seattle-based start-up created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The talented techies at Starwave were fifty-fifty partners in the ABCNews.com bi-coastal [Seattle and New York] endeavor and they built us an amazing proprietary content management system.)

Because the user is served multiple pages, these types of clickable information graphics and "slide shows" are popular now because they generate lots of hits but this was not understood by the powers-that-be back then, so around 2000, after the Y2K debacle and the presidential election had passed, these labor-intensive "pop-offs" (because they appeared in a separate window) and the original articles that accompanied them were replaced by more generic AP "wire stories" and promotional tie-ins to ABC Network shows. The beautiful graphics and well-written original copy we on staff collectively agonized over were all but purged from the site for being too "expensive" but it was nice while it lasted. To their credit, our bosses at Disney including Michael Eisner, as well as Peter Jennings at ABCNews World News Tonight, also took interest in what we did. It was as if we were inventing the Internet news business in real time in those days. They could tell we enjoyed trying to one-up our competitiors at MSNBC which was a new network then, as well as other sites like the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Associated Press, and others who also did beautiful, innovative work then.

These examples are still screen grabs of the once-dynamic pieces I created at ABCNews so that bite-sized clickable chunks of information could be consumed by the user incrementally. While I did this, I was also known as the ABCNews.com "map guy" because I love maps and was in charge of all them on our site. I will include another page of my maps elsewhere. I include these infographics here and now because I am proud of them and so you can see what I do as a graphic designer.

Return to Graphics page
See other interactive graphics from ABCNews.com
Interactive feature on the artist Ray Johnson
Flash presentation on the Balkans I designed

Mark Bloch
Panmodern Productions
(212) 982-8454