- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2014

When it comes to the debate over statehood, is D.C. being wiped off the map?

A rise in the popularity of infographics has ushered in a raft of new visual ways to present data, and even a quick Internet search reveals a variety of images to illustrate topics including CEO pay scales and the adventures of various “Star Wars” characters.

But on digital-age maps of the U.S., the nation’s capital often is left out, leaving nothing but a nondescript space between Maryland and Virginia.

“I think it’s very easy to think that it is the federal government, but not that there are people who live in D.C. their whole lives,” said Reuben Fischer-Baum, the infographics editor at Deadspin, a popular sports website.

The city gets lots of attention for politics, but that means cultural aspects can be overlooked, he said.

The District of Columbia is difficult to locate on the Corporate States of America, but infographic creator Steve Lovelace calls himself a "completionist" and includes it on his website. To represent the nation's capital, he chose C-SPAN. "I thought it still represented the politics and as D.C. as a separate district," he says. (steve-lovelace.com)
The District of Columbia is difficult to locate on the Corporate States ... more >

Deadspin posted an infographic last year on the highest-paid public employee in each state. The majority were football and basketball coaches. Football reigned supreme for the states surrounding the city, but the District wasn’t included on the map. Mr. Fischer-Baum said it was one of the first things readers commented on.

“Truth be told, I wish I did include it,” he said.

But, he said, there are reasons the city sometimes is left off of data tables and maps. Despite having a higher population than either Vermont or Wyoming, the District doesn’t have the geographical diversity afforded by states with far more physical reach.

“When you have that data that’s sort of on a sliding scale, it’s hard to include D.C. sometimes,” Mr. Fischer-Baum said. “Every other state is a combination of cities and not cities, and D.C. is just a city.”

That means data on the District can be strange because a single city dictates the entire area, without a balance of other cities or rural areas.

“If New York was just a city, it would be an outlier, too,” Mr. Fischer-Baum said.

Cultural website Thrillist also excluded the District when it produced an infographic on the top alcoholic drinks or brands in each state.

“My brother lives in D.C., so I know exactly what the city is capable of as far as food and drink culture goes, but I do feel like people are sometimes surprised when I tell them how much fun I had while visiting,” said Ben Robinson, Thrillist’s editorial director. “That’s one of the things we love so much about our local coverage — letting the world know about it all.”

Reasons for omission

The District’s omission wasn’t a conscious decision, he said, but a result of the focus of the survey on the 50 states.

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