My thesis at the M.Sc. in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano was a semiotic-driven analysis of images used for covering news. It started as a study on the current state of photojournalism, analysing the practice from a semiotic point of view.

The first objective of the research was to show that photography as a discipline hasn’t changed but transformed. The second was to demonstrate the existence of recurring visual models in news imagery. The idea behind this piece of work was to interrogate patterns, based on traces left by human behavior. Ultimately, this project was more about showing a reflection of human activity than about producing charts and visualizations.


Tiziana Alocci


M.Sc. in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano

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The Circular Dendrogram visualization was featured in Manuel Lima’s The Book Of Circles – 2017 

As pragmatic to support my theoretical work, I showcased explained pieces of evidence and case studies. I began my research by studying thousands of pictures around three big natural/manmade disasters that had taken place in the recent past: the Fukushima earthquake, the Indonesian tsunami, and the Costa Concordia shipwreck. I then categorised and sorted the pictures analysed into twelve subject categories.

My research was conducted by looking at three media outlets, both online and offline. The offline research was especially exciting, as it led me to spend many days in my local library digging into the newspaper’s archive – very fascinating. Also: dusty!

Don’t project the idea that you’re showing a chart. Project the idea that you’re showing a reflection of human activity […]

– Nancy Duarte