Graphic News — History

Graphic News is a specialist agency based in London with over thirty years of experience producing a graphics service for news and media organisations, and other publishers

  • The company Graphic News was founded by Duncan Mil in 1981 as a creative agency catering for most of the major newspapers in the UK, as well as advertising and corporate customers.
  • In 1982, graphics produced by Duncan Mil for the Observer, London, covering the Falklands War were syndicated around the world. This established that there was an international interest in graphics of this sort, even if it was impossible to make a profit due to the inability to deliver or receive payment economically at that time.
  • In 1988, Mil, in collaboration with the agency Reuters, produced a package of graphics for the Seoul Olympic Games. He insisted on using the recently launched Adobe Illustrator 88 because he believed that with this program it might be possible for the first time to draw graphics to the same quality as those drawn conventionally. At around this time, a service called Presslink was also launched in the U.S. to deliver syndicated content to publishers by modem and telephone connections.
  • In 1991, the Graphic News Service was launched as an international subscription service for news media publishers, using Adobe Illustrator 3.2 and delivered using Presslink. Within a year, all other commission business was dropped because of the commitment and focus needed to produce a daily news service -- corporate clients do not appreciate late delivery due to some unforeseen air disaster!
  • In 1992, support was obtained from Stuart Garner and Terry Quinn of Thomson Regional Newspapers, UK, who wanted to promote graphics in their titles. This later developed into a collaboration with UK News, a regional agency set up by Alex Leys of Northcliffe newspapers to produce an alternative agency to PA, the UK Press Association.
  • In 1993, Graphic News launched their own delivery platform using Telefinder software, using modems across traditional phone lines.
  • In 1993, Graphic News was discovered by Gary Neeleman and Jesse Levine of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International (LATSI), who went on to market Graphic News around the world. This only came to an end in 2004, after the Los Angeles Times was bought by Tribune, who had their own graphics service.
  • In 1994, Graphic News moved from Telefinder to FirstClass to match the delivery system, NewsCom, used by LATSI.
  • In 2000, Graphic News moved the service onto the company website (previously only used to give information about the company). At that time only about 20% of customers had sufficient internet connectivity to access using a browser; the remainder continued to use modem and telephone connectivity.
  • In 2001, interactive graphics (produced using Flash software) were trialled for the first time as part of the Formula 1 package. Although the response was enthusiastic, the trial was not continued because the graphics couldn’t be used -- they couldn’t be viewed without downloading Flash Player and many websites didn’t have the wherewithall to integrate such content onto their sites.
  • In 2007, Graphic News set themselves a target - to develop animated graphics with interactivity that were editable, translatable, modifiable, re-sizable, easy to use, and at a price news media publishers could afford! These objectives were not achieved until 2014.
  • In 2014, the Graphic News Multimedia Service was launched, offering interactive graphics plus other features (such as embed code) needed for a multimedia newsroom to use graphics.
  • In 2015, GN Newsahead was launched to make available Graphic News’ own in-house forward events calendar together with that of Newsahead. This was a response to the increasing resources required to identify stories suitable for graphics.
  • In 2015, the team was back to square one with the realisation that for digital publishers all graphics had to be in a responsive format suitable for mobile, tablet and computer screens. Without this, digital publishing faced a visual “Dark Age”.
  • In 2016, the Graphic News Digital Service was launched, offering responsive “screen” and interactive graphics, to complement traditional “static” graphics. The production team adopted a “mobile-first” production philosophy.
There is a saying that to survive in a changing world you have to evolve or die. Since the original service launched in 1991, the technology and media industry have changed out of all recognition, and so has Graphic News. For the future, in an uncertain world the only thing we can be certain of is that the technology will keep on changing and with it companies such as Graphic News ....


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