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Heartland Americans applaud? D.C. is increasingly being wiped off online maps
District doesn’t fit neatly with data for 50
Question of the Day
“The truth of it is that we had a different working map title for a while that involved the 50 States of Booze, and once we were locked into that mentally, it became weird to add D.C.,” Mr. Robinson said.
But the District is one of the cities Thrillist includes in its coverage of bars, restaurants and events. Although left off of the Red, White, and Booze map, the website has reported on DC Brau, Bluejacket, Atlas Brew Works, and the Capitol City Brewing Co., among others.
“We’ve been covering the bar and restaurant scene in D.C. for over four years, so we know what the city has to offer better than anyone,” Mr. Robinson said.
Ironically, the map that Thrillist used as inspiration — Steve Lovelace’s Corporate States of America — did include the District.
“For me, I’m a completionist,” Mr. Lovelace said. “I know there’s 50 states and D.C. I know it exists and I knew it should be printed there. I’ve been in D.C. twice in college and I like the city. I know the map wouldn’t be completed without it.”
The map started with the idea that some modern-era corporations are becoming more powerful and wealthier than many countries, Mr. Lovelace said. So for each state he chose a company that he believed best represented it.
With few multinational corporations based in the District, he picked C-SPAN, whose coverage of political affairs is ubiquitous.
“As a corporation and an entity, I thought it still represented the politics and as D.C. as a separate district,” said Mr. Lovelace, who works for Communities in Schools, a nonprofit dropout prevention group.
Under the microscope
Even if it is included on maps, the District poses one more design problem — it’s small, taking up less landmass than Rhode Island. That means readers might have to stare at the Virginia-Maryland border in an infographic before they are able to locate the nation’s capital.
The infographic inconsistencies mirror the unique place the city holds in the American political landscape: a sort of quasi-state that is controlled by the federal government. That has left the city government battling for greater independence.
“Full freedom and democracy were and are still denied to the people who quite literally live within the sight of the Capitol dome,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray said last year during the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington. “We pay more than $3.5 billion in federal taxes but don’t even get the final say in how we spend our own locally raised money. And we send our sons and our daughters to fight for democracy overseas, but don’t get to practice it fully here at home.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Phillip Swarts is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covering fiscal waste, fraud and political ethics. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Washington Guardian. Phillip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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