Where is IU ranked?

In Design, IDS on January 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Something on today’s IDS front page jumped out at me.

The headline is “IU rated as No. 4 value,” yet here’s the lede…


IU came in at No. 39, one spot higher than last year’s ratings, on a 2013 list of Best Public College Values recently released by Kiplinger.

Wait, what? If I’m reader Joe Easily-Distracted, I’m real confused after that first line in relation to the headline. Are we No. 4 or No. 39? But we continue…

The new rankings also place IU fourth in value within Big Ten schools.

So what’s the news here? Is the fact that IU is No. 4 in the Big Ten more important? Or that IU is No. 39 overall? The headline and the lede should agree on this. I understand that the subhead (“IU ranks in top 5 for overall value in Big Ten, 39th among all US universities by Kiplinger”) offers a little more explanation, but just based on reading the headline and lede alone — which is all I did on my average walk from the news-stand to Ballantine — the reader can get confused.

Also, let’s take a look at the centerpiece graphic, a nice visualization by Lacey Hoopengardner.

RankingCP copy

The main graphic here is showing that 89 out of 100 students at IU return after their freshman year. Great graphic, interesting information but again, this doesn’t directly relate to the No. 4 and/or 39 ranking. Based on the story, Kiplinger measured “a college’s ability to keep students engaged and on track for graduation,” but is there better data to display the ranking highlighted in the big headline and lede of the story?

Is there a better way to visually show off the ranking or the data Kiplinger used that relates better to the story/headline? Is there a way to make the story and headline more reflective of each other? Comment below and let’s start talking. That’s what the Writer’s Block is all about.



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