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Data journalism: visualizing data for reporting and storytelling

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    Data journalism: visualizing data for reporting and storytelling Data journalism: visualizing data for reporting and storytelling Presentation Transcript

    • Data journalism: visualizing data for reporting and storytelling
      NASW annual meeting
      November 6, 2010
      David Harris
    • Why visualize data?
      It can help you:
      find a story
      understand a story
      tell a story
      “Finding ways to visualize datasets can be as important as ways to analyse them."
      (in Maltz, from Unwin, quoting Ripley)
    • Unexpected benefits of visualization
      It makes you truly understand the data
      It can help you find errors in the data
      More common than you think!
      You can find manipulated data
      More common that you’d hope!
    • Scientists and visualization
      Most of them are terrible at it!
      They are too close to the data
      They want to include too many details
      They can’t see it from the audience’s viewpoint
      Journalist can be better at it
      We can take a reader’s perspective
      We know how to find the story in the data
      We ask different questions
    • When and how to visualize
      When:
      Only use it when it’s genuinely the best way to tell the story – text is still powerful!
      How:
      Get the data and try it out
      Test you visualization on some audiences
      Remove some of the information
      Learn by studying good examples
    • A case study: criminal histories
      A big question in criminology: how did criminals get to where they are?
      Can we see an individual’s criminal history and relevant life events easily?
      People have been trying to do this for decades without much success (based on uptake from others in the field)
    • Past attempt 1
    • Past attempt 2
    • Past attempt 3
    • Past attempt 4
    • Past attempt 5
    • Past attempt 6
    • Current attempt
    • Current attempt
    • Current attempt
    • Current attempt
    • Current attempt
    • Note on producing these
      Start by sketching a design (scrap paper)
      Prototype it (Adobe Illustrator)
      Design your data structure (Excel)
      Program it (Processing)
      This data comes from a study of 800 civilly committed sex offenders in Massachusetts. Thanks to:
      Danielle Harris, San Jose State University
      Ray Knight, Brandeis University