A video report on data journalism produced during 2009-10 Knight Journalism Fellowship, Journalism in the Age of Data , provides a fascinating insight into new formats of “data interrogation” to create stories and offer avenues for drawing data based conclusions.
Story driven data visualization, journalists argue, is never successful unless is edited. Editing provides insight in to patterns that extended beyond the numbers creating compelling, interactive data stories. One of the most popular structures, a martini glass, starts with author’s observations or question (author driving introduction) and proceeds with visualization. Another, alternative approach opens to a slide show framing and cropping the story embedding visualization relating to one segment only (better for more complex data sets). Another type provides a main theme only allowing the user to choose back stories (requires more scripted narrative, e.g. events)
The presentation offers a history of journalistic data visualization, also the heroes (Thomas Molen, How Europeans Voted in Last Year Eurovision) , visionaries (Nicholas Felton, Personal data Blogs) and mavericks (Lee Byron’s steam graphs).
Above all, free tools for creative data lovers:
- Google Charts API (dynamically generated charts with a URL string easily embedded into web page)
- UUorld (free, or $50 professional version) is “an immersive mapping environment tool”, also a data,and critical analysis tools. Interactive, four-dimensional maps (data sets here)
- and, also, the Swivel, that recently went down and the story capturing the Rise and Fall of Swivel.com by Robert Kosara (a respected Guru of data visualization related blog Eager Eyes) is worth reading to let us know once more: “These free tools on the web are easy to use, easy to lose. A cautionary tale.”
And my sample of the ManyEyes derived visualization of the ALA strategic plan (ALA Ahead to 2010):
- Some Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics (makeuseof.com)
- Tips for a Startup Infographic (readwriteweb.com)
- Mike Fruchter: Data Visualization And Infographics To Tell Your Story (thefuturebuzz.com)