Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

August 30 2012

20:30

Infographics: Daily Social Media Buzz at the RNC

Editor's note: The folks at BuzzMgr, a social media listening tool, have been putting together a daily infographic from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., to help distill the daily buzz there. Below are each day's infographics in chronological order. We'll update this post with the most recent infographics as they come in. Also, read down below for an explanation from the author on how and why they are creating these graphics.

RNC Day 3

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

RCNBuzz-Infographic(Day3).jpg

RNC Day 2

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

RNC Infographic - Day 2 - Final.jpg

RNC Day 1

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

RNC Infographic Day 1 - FINAL.jpg

The ConventionBuzz daily infographics are a snapshot of social media conversations surrounding the key people, issues and events associated with the national political conventions.

#RNCBuzz begins with an interdisciplinary team of analysts including public relations specialists, marketers and a security specialist from the San Diego State University's Homeland Security Masters program.

convention digital small.jpg

Throughout the day, members of our analyst team recommend highly retweeted and most-discussed posts for inclusion in the Tweet Buzz section. To be included in the "What's An Expert Think?" section the post either is chosen because of the prominence or expertise of the author or the creativity of the post. Typically it will refer to one of the key themes of the day.

Prior to the convention, the BuzzMgr team determined which nine information categories would unearth the most interesting and relevant social media activity and results to provide a broad understanding of what was gaining traction in the social landscape.

We are refining approaches and content focus each day based on the convention and other major activities such as protests and hurricane-related topics. We're also on the lookout for anything wild and wacky that might crop up and not be on the convention agenda. We aim for analysis being complete by 1 a.m. to be able to capture an accurate initial take on the speeches; then we hand the day's content over to the designers at Charlotte, N.C., firm AC&M Group to incorporate into the template and customize to the included topics.

Kathleen Hessert is a former TV journalist who now runs BuzzManager, Inc and the sports reputation management firm, Sports Media Challenge. Lauded for launching NBA great Shaquille O'Neal on Twitter which helped take the platform to the masses, BuzzManager now provides a range of social media services for a wide range of clients including strategy, execution, education and monitoring via her proprietary BuzzMgr™ listening tool.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

January 07 2012

21:59

@marijerr : Overview of the interactive graphics of the New York Times and the Guardian

What crimes were people arrested for during the London riots? Like to know more details about Egyptian elections: the parties and where they stand? Curious to understand how Twitter tracked the MP's questions to Rupert Murdoch? - Marije Rooze collected some of the interactive graphics of the New York Times and The Guardian for her master thesis. It's worth to explore her gallery.

marijerooze.nl :: My thesis is partly based on literature and partly on quantitative research. The graphics are coded on aspects such as interactivity, storytelling, collaboration, presentation, user empowerment and front end technologies. The overview does not contain all graphics produced by the newspapers. At some point, you have to stop collecting and start writing.

Interactive-graphics-jpg

Marije Rooze (via DM, Twitter) about her thesis: "It's about online journalism, moving from print to digital and eventually to visualization. And how the identity of the papers is reflected in their visualizations, and their attitude towards users, open data and technology and how you can compare them."

Like to explore the collection? - Continue here Marije Rooze, marijerooze.nl

October 14 2011

10:29

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Infographic Design





 



 


Since the dawn of the Internet, the demand for good design has continued to skyrocket. From Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and beyond, designers have remained on their toes as they define the trends and expectations of our online universe. The Internet is a great designer’s playground, and online businesses are growing more and more appreciative of what can be gained from a bit of well-executed eye candy. Over the past two years, this fact has become the backbone of a growing trend in online marketing: the infographic.

Infographics are visual representations of information, or “data viz” as the cool kids call it these days. The term “data viz” comes from “data visualization,” which implies that sets of data will be displayed in a unique way that can be seen, rather than read. This visualization should not be left up to interpretation, it should instead be designed in a way that provides a universal conclusion for all viewers. In the simplest terms, infographics are not too different than the charts and graphs that programs like Excel have been spitting out for years.

Of course, just as Web 2.0 changed 1.0, today’s infographics are far more eye-catching than simple pie charts and bar graphs. Today, infographics compile many different data visualizations into one cohesive piece of “eye candy.” They have evolved with design trends, received some creative facelifts, and the Internet is now getting filled with interesting information delivered in enthralling ways.

While some design trends come and go, infographics are here to stay. With brands like USA Today, The New York Times and Google and even President Obama getting behind them, infographics are becoming a powerful tool for disseminating huge amounts of information to the masses. Companies large and small are using infographics to build their brands, educate their audience and optimize their search engine ranking through link-building. This is why learning how to design a good infographic is a must, and avoiding the common pitfalls of infographic design could mean the difference between landing a big client and losing them entirely.

Wrapping Your Mind Around Data Viz

Designing an infographic is not the same as designing a website, flier, brochure, etc. Even some of the best designers, with portfolios that would make you drool, cannot execute an effective infographic design. Creating infographics is a challenge and requires a mindset that does not come naturally to everyone. But that mindset can be gained through practice and by sticking to certain standards, the most important of which is to respect and understand data viz. Here are some simple rules to follow when wrapping your mind around proper data viz.

Show, Don’t Tell

A rule of cinema is to show, don’t tell. The same holds true for infographic design. The foundation of any good infographic is data viz. As an infographic designer, you may or may not determine the concept and compile all of the research for the final design, but either way you are responsible for turning that information into a visually stimulating, cohesive design that tells a story and that doesn’t miss a single opportunity to visualize data. Take this portion of an infographic about Twitter by ViralMS as an example:

twitter infographic
This Twitter infographic writes out the data, rather than visualizing it.

What’s wrong with this infographic? It breaks the first rule right out of the gate. When you have an opportunity to display information visually, take it. Here, the tweets per second could have at least been shown in a bar graph. This would enable someone to quickly look at this section and see what’s going on; by seeing the various heights of the bars, the eye could have quickly gauged the differences in tweets per second per event without having to read anything.

If you’re having trouble adhering to this rule, try keeping all of your text on one layer of your AI file (excluding text inside charts and graphs). Every once in a while, turn off the text layer and see whether the infographic still makes sense. If there isn’t any data viz, or if a bunch of pictures are missing context, then you are doing too much telling and not enough showing.

If the Client Wanted an Excel Chart, They Wouldn’t Need You

It might sound harsh, but it’s true. If infographics were as simple as laying out a bunch of standard charts and graphs on a page, then clients would not need to search out great designers. Many tools are online that can create colorful pie charts, line graphs and bar graphs, so you have to take things to the next level for your design to stand out. Taking the data from above, which of the two graphs below do you think would make a client happier?

unique data viz
Two ways to visualize the data from the Twitter example above.

If you answered Graph B, you’re catching on. Of course, not all data lends itself to creative and unique graphs. Graph A might work very well if the rest of the infographic shared a similar aesthetic. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and produce a traditional bar graph or pie chart; nevertheless, always consider ways to dress it up, as in the examples below:

infographic examples
Ways to dress up simple graphs for an infographic.

Typography Should Not Be a Crutch

Typography can make or break a design, but it should not be the solution to a data viz problem. More often than not, designers begin an infographic with a great deal of energy and excitement, but they lose steam fast as they continue down the page. This often leads to quick decisions and poor solutions, like using typography to show off a big number instead of visualizing it in some way. Here’s an example:

Too much dependence on typography
TravelMatch’s infographic highlights too much.

Whenever I see this, I’m reminded of the “Where’s the beef?” ad campaign, and I think, “Where’s the data viz?” Although Sketch Rockwell is one of my all-time favorite fonts, this is a perfect example of relying too much on typography.

Any time a research number is provided to you for an infographic, ask yourself how it can be visualized. Percentages can always be visualized with creative pie charts; numerical values in a set can usually be turned into a unique bar graph; and when numbers don’t fit on a consistent scale, you might be able to visualize them in a diagram. Here is another way the above data could have been visualized:

data visualization
An example of how to visualize the TravelMatch data, rather than relying on typography.

Typography Has Its Place

All that being said, typography does have its uses, which should not be ignored when creating an infographic. Most of the time, you will want to focus your creative typographical energies on titles and headings. The title of the infographic is a perfect opportunity to use a fun and eye-catching font and to give it a treatment that fits the theme or topic. Just make sure the title isn’t so distracting that it takes away from the reason we are looking at the infographic in the first place. The truth of the matter is that some infographic topics are boring, but the right title design can engage people enough to scroll through.

Similarly, headings help to break up an infographic and make the data easier to take in, giving you another chance to let your font-nerd flag fly.


The title of an infographic is your chance to draw attention to the design.

Organization And Storyline

Organizing an infographic in a way that makes sense and that keeps the viewer interested is not always easy, but it’s part of the job for most infographic designers. Usually, you will be given a lot of data and will need to create a visual story out of it. This can be challenging at first, but you can follow some general rules to make things easier.

Wireframe the Infographic

Wireframing an infographic enables you to work out a storyboard and layout for the design. You may have an idea of the story you want to tell, but as you start laying things out, you might hit a wall and have to start over. Having to reorganize after having already done a lot of the design is incredibly frustrating. Avoid this by setting up your storyline at the start to determine what data to show and how. Set aside an hour to sketch things out and make sure it all makes sense. This will also help to ensure that the color palette you will choose drives attention to the important points and keeps the eye flowing down the page.

Think Outside the Box

As you wireframe the infographic, you will identify section breaks that help to tell the story. Most infographics online have a vertical flow, in which each section has a heading to distinguish it from the last. This gets boring fast. Organizing the data and sectioning off information without relying entirely on headings and color breaks is a good way to break the monotony.

For instance, rather than going for a typical one-column layout, you could use two columns in certain parts. You could also break up sections with borders, with backgrounds of different shapes or give the entire design a road or path theme. Here’s some outside the box layouts to get your creative juices flowing:

unique infographic layouts
There are many unique ways to lay out an infographic that will keep the viewer engaged.

Tell a Story

All good stories have a beginning, middle and end. Infographics deserve the same treatment. At the beginning of the infographic, introduce the problem or thesis. From there, back it up with data. Finally, end the infographic with a conclusion.

Visualize the Hook

Every good infographic has a hook or primary take-away that makes the viewer say “A-ha!” As a designer, you should make this hook the focal point of the design if at all possible. Placing the hook at either the center or very end of the infographic is usually best, so that it grabs more attention. Give the most important information the most visual weight, so that viewers know what to take away. Here are some examples of well visualized hooks:

hooks in infographics
Hooks should either be in the center, beginning, or end of the infographic and need the greatest visual emphasis.

Cleaning Things Up With Color

The difference a color palette can make is amazing, especially in the world of infographics. The right palette can help organize an infographic, evangelize the brand, reinforce the topic and more. The wrong palette can turn a great topic into an eyesore, harm the brand’s image and convey the wrong message. Here are some tips to consider when choosing colors for your infographic.

Make It Universal

In Web design, it’s always important to choose a palette that fits the theme of the website and that is neutral enough for a diverse group of visitors. Because infographics are primarily shared online, picking the right palette for an array of visitors is equally important. You must also consider what looks good online.

For instance, dominant dark colors and neons typically do not translate well on infographics; neon on black can be hard to read, and if there is a lot of data, taking it all in will be a challenge. Also, avoid white as a background whenever possible. Infographics are often shared on multiple websites and blogs, most of which have white backgrounds. If your infographic’s background is also white, then deciphering where it begins and ends will be difficult.

A Three-Color Palette Is Easy on the Eyes

With all of the data that goes into an infographic, make sure that the reader’s eye easily flows down the page; the wrong color palette can be a big barrier to this. Choose a palette that doesn’t attack the senses. And consider doing this before you start designing, because it will help you determine how to visualize the various elements.

If picking a color palette is hard for you, stick to the rule of three. Choose three primary colors. Of the three, one should be the background color (usually the lightest of the three), and the other two should break up the sections. If you need to add other colors, use shades of the three main colors. This will keep the palette cohesive and calming, rather than jarring.

Use the Tools at Your Disposal

When picking colors, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. A number of great websites out there will help you choose the right palette for your infographic. Adobe’s Kuler offers fresh themes and a searchable database, as well as an easy tool to adjust the palette that you’re interested in. One issue with Kuler is that all of the palettes have five colors, and the colors are sometimes from completely different families, rather than shades of a few primary colors, so finding the right palette can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Another color-picking tool is COLOURlovers. This database is easier to search through: it breaks palettes into different themes and can be sorted by favorites. While most of the palettes also consist of five colors, the colors are not always given equal weight; instead, the tool suggests which should be dominant. Here are some good and bad palettes for infographics:

infographic color palettes

Final Thoughts

While these standards are important to consider for most infographic designs, sometimes an infographic comes along that breaks all of these rules and still succeeds immensely. In the end, clients like “eye candy” and designs that “pop!” While such terms are subjective (and annoying to most designers), we all know a great infographic design when we see one, and your clients do, too. Use these rules to guide you into the infographic realm, but create your own techniques and standards after you’ve gained some experience.

(al)


© Amy Balliett for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

July 21 2011

17:46

Google+ Terms of Service, Illustrated

Editor's note: When Google+ launched, there was much ado about the Terms of Service, especially in how they related to photos. So, artist Ryan Estrada set out to simplify things with the following infographics, which immediately went viral. He explains below what inspired them.

ryanestradagoogle+tos.jpg

control photos.jpg

I'm an artist who makes my living sharing my work online, and when I joined Google+ I found a whole new audience for my work, which is one of the hardest things for artists to do. Thousands of new readers a day were discovering my work, downloading my books, and telling their friends. Many of them were new to webcomics entirely, and I've been able to introduce them to a number of artists.

I was trying to convince some artist friends to join in the sharing love too, but many of them had been scared off by people selectively copying and pasting the scariest-sounding parts of Google+'s terms-of-service. I got tired of having to copy and paste the missing sections every time it came up in a discussion, or retype what they meant in regards to a social network. So I decided to put the entire section, along with my interpretation, in one easily shareable graphic so that we can stop having the same discussion, and start sharing some art!

Ryan Estrada moves to a new country every year just because he can. He has worked on graphic novels, anthologies like "Flight: Volume 4," his own online adventure show called "Expeditions," an Adult Swim series, an animated feature, and had a strange afternoon doing voiceover work for a Bollywood movie. He loves sharing, so all of his work is available for free at www.ryanestrada.com. He can be found on Google+ at plus.to/ryanestrada

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

May 09 2011

12:37

AN INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT ON INFOGRAPHICS AND VISUAL JOURNALISM

Last week, we saw how some of the “worst offenders” explained the Osama bin Laden story with fictional graphics.

As soon as I started to post some tuitts in my Twitter account @GINER, I saw that many colleagues from many countries reacted in the same way, among them ny friend Alberto Cairo, the infographics editor of EPOCA magazine in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

With Alberto, we wrote “six basic rules” that must be observed to deliver real news with graphics.

Then I contacted Barry Sussman, an INNOVATION Senior Consultant that now serves as editor of the Harvard University Nieman Watchdog Project and he offered that website to post the “check-list” with a short article, and a first list with 58 colleagues from 22 countries immediately endorsed the statement.

Claude Erbsen in New York edited the “six rules” and Barry Sussman in Washington DC edited the full article.

A few minutes ago all this was posted at the Nieman Watchdog website with the same illustration that leads this post, as it fits the purpose and sense of this statement: the front page of the William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal “explaining” the news from Cuba.

And we included a few examples from some of the “worst offenders.”

Like this one from UOL in Brazil:

This from the Daily Mail in the UK:

This one from CBS News:

This one from ABC in Madrid:

This one from the Hindustan Times in India:

This one from NMA News in Taiwan:

Or this from JT France:

You can find an extensive selection with wise comments of Gert K Nielsen about some of the best and worst infographics in his blog VisualJournalism.

But, more important, we just wanted to stress five ideas:

  • Facts ,not fiction, is what drives Journalism.
  • Visual Journalism is not Show Business.
  • Editors must lead this battle against fake information.
  • Visual journalists must resist any pressure to deliver graphics “at any cost.”
  • And infographics are not a substitute when we don’t have real information.

This what I learned from Alejandro Malofiej, Miguel Urabayen, Peter Sullivan, Mario Tascón, John Grimwade, Chiqui Esteban, Nigel Holmes or Javier Zarracina, and many of the best visual journalists of the world.

And we cannot accept less.

• If you agree with these convictions, please add your signature in the comments section of the Nieman Watchdog, spread the word between your newsrooms, and we will include your names in the next editions of this first wave of endorsements.

January 14 2011

17:00

Gizmodo taps illustrators to give stories more punch, pop, pow!

When Gizmodo editorial director Brian Lam was planning for this week’s coverage of the Verizon iPhone, he didn’t think in words. He visualized it entirely in images, daydreaming about how much more emotive pictures and sounds can be than straight-laced text: A Ken Burns-style montage of past newspaper stories predicting iPhone’s migration; a video of AT&T’s greatest failures; customers expressing frustration layered with soulful, gut-wrenching music.

On Tuesday, the editorial package still featured a lot of text — Gizmodo ran a series of traditional news and service pieces plus a one-minute rant — but Gizmodo did have some original art: a Verizon-red light dawning over the shiny iPhone (“At Last”) and a projectile phone crashing through the telecom’s Manhattan headquarters (“Will the iPhone Crush Verizon’s Network?”).

Most online journalism privileges text over all else. But to help Gizmodo differentiate itself from the countless other technology sites around, since early summer, contributing illustrators and guest artists have been whipping up hundreds of visual pieces for Gizmodo. And the response has only made Lam’s love of the visual grow stronger. “If I needed to, I would have napkin sketches done,” he says. Cartoons, illustrations, and drawings can add a nice touch in the Internet environment where text stories are aggregated, chopped up, syndicated or simply re-skinned and re-written without giving credit. Art, on the other hand, is treated as a more proprietary piece of intellectual property and can catch a reader’s eye, build a brand’s signature style, and help tell the story. Plus it can also be a cheaper, more flexible alternative to original photography.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Gizmodo wrote about Lady Gaga’s Polaroid glasses, but there was no picture of her with them. “How much would [a photo shoot] cost? Thousands of dollars, weeks to set up?” Lam asks rhetorically. Perhaps, but Lam didn’t have to go that route. Instead, Sam Spratt, a 22-year-old contributing illustrator, drew the Gaga image above in half an hour.

Spratt has been working with Gawker since July and was onsite at CES, but he typically creates from a home studio, another advantage of hand-drawn art. Like journalists who can gather information, sources, and anecdotes with just a phone and computer, illustrators don’t always have to be on location to create original, entertaining, and informative content. Wendy MacNaughton, a San Francisco-based cartoonist who spent a month working with Gawker, drew the clever Fission vs. Fusion sidebar (left, click for the full image), which for many will be light years more engaging than a string of quotes from a CERN scientist. “They’re the shiny objects that hook people in enough to see the real meat of the package: the article,” Spratt says of his drawings. (Readers simply ignore stock images.)

Bang for the buck

Visuals are already a Gawker signature — its editorial teams mine the Web for colorful images to fill image-heavy layout. Still, Lam, who came to Gizmodo from Wired in 2006, pushed founder Nick Denton to fund original art. “Every year, we discuss budgets, and I said, ‘You really think another writer on top of a ten-person staff is going to make a difference?’” Lam recalls. In 2007, Gizmodo brought on Jesus Diaz, a writer and editor with a background in visual and graphic arts. He frequently built images in Photoshop, created unique infographics and timelines. “There was a lot of punch in those posts,” Lam says of Diaz’ work. “You just start to dream visually from that point on.”

To fulfill that dream, Gawker started adding creative personnel. MacNaughton came on for a month last summer, painting 15 water colors including a biting take on the iPhone 4 and the classic infographic for No Sleep ‘Til Fusion. Chris McVeigh, who worked with Gizmodo for a couple of months, built and photographer Lego dioramas. Both artists add beautiful visual originality to text, a complement that’ll only get more vital as we move toward tablets and Internet TV.

The difference between another writer and an illustrator is most apparent with Spratt, though, who has done more than 400 pieces since July. There’s pure editorial work (like Verizon and Gaga), but he also helps make Gawker Media’s community-engagement more robust. For a Halloween contest, he painted an eerie father-and-son piece, and last month, Spratt rewarded Facebook fans by painting 14 of their profile pictures. The recent Savannah College of Art & Design grad maintains his own Facebook page — 4,300+ fans — and a formspring that attracts aspiring artists, supporters, and a more than a handful of swooning women.

The takeaway: Illustration matters

As with Gawker Artists, the company’s use of visuals makes the site more vibrant, engaging, interesting, and unique. It also allows for more flexible editorial modeling and attracts a wider audience than, in the case of Gizmodo, gadget writing alone. There is nothing to fear by bringing on illustrators. If we’re wary of mixing cartoons with traditional journalism, we shouldn’t be — just look at The New Yorker’s fantastic work, their extensive lines of mugs, diaries, prints, umbrellas, postcards, and calendars. We already know our audience loves illustrations — Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time, and The Simpsons is the longest-running show on TV. “The longer I work at Gawker, it really encourages you to go with your gut,” says Lam. “I think that everyone should try to do this.”

November 10 2010

18:30

Talking Points Memo’s first developer talks startup life, jumping to ProPublica and data journalism

What’s it like being the only in-house techie at a news startup? Talking Points Memo’s first developer Al Shaw says “it’s kind of like being a reporter….you have to be a generalist,” doing everything from ad-side work to election-night interactives.

Shaw was the primary technical force behind most of the bells and whistles that cropped up at TPM over the past two years, including a redesign that lets producers switch up the layout of the homepage, and an array of slick interactives like the real-time election results tracker that made TPM look a lot less like a scrappy startup and more like an establishment outlet on Election Night earlier this month. (Shaw is quick to explain he had some help on the election map from Erik Hinton, TPM’s technical fellow.) He’s also been good about blogging about his technical endeavors in ways that could be useful to his peers at other news organizations.

Shaw announced last month he is leaving TPM to start a new gig at ProPublica, where he’ll keep working on data-driven journalism. On one of his few days off between jobs, I talked with him about what it’s like working for a news startup, what he hopes to accomplish at ProPublica, and where he thinks data journalism is headed. Below is a lightly edited transcript. (Disclosure: I used to work at TPM, before Al started there.)

Laura K. McGann: How did you approach your job at TPM? What did you see as your mission there?

Al Shaw: When I started, I came on as an intern right before the ’08 election. At that point, they didn’t have anyone in house who really knew much about programming or design or software. I came on and I saw an opportunity there because TPM is such a breaking-news site, and their whole goal is to do stuff really fast, that they needed someone to do that, but on the technology side, too.

I had a big role in how we covered the 2008 election. We became able to shift the homepage, rearrange stuff. Being able to really elevate what you can do in blogging software. That was kind of the first foray. Then I started redesigning some of the other sections. But the biggest impact I had was redesigning the homepage. That was about a year ago. I had the same goal of being able to empower the editors and nontechnical types to have a bigger palette of what they can do on the site. I created this kind of meta-CMS on top of the CMS that allowed them to rearrange where columns were and make different sections bigger and smaller without having to get into the code. That really changed the way the homepage works.

There is still Movable Type at the core, but there’s a lot of stuff built up around the sides. When we started to build bigger apps, like the Poll Tracker and election apps, we kind of moved off Movable Type all together and started building in Ruby on Rails and Sinatra. They’re hosted on Amazon EC2, which is a cloud provider.

LKM: What have you built that you’re the most proud of?

AS: Probably the Poll Tracker. It was my first project in Rails. It just had enormous success; it now has 14,000 polls in it. Daily Kos and Andrew Sullivan were using it regularly to embed examples of races they wanted to follow and it really has become a central part of TPM and the biggest poll aggregator on the web now. I worked with an amazing Flash developer, Michiko Swiggs, she did the visual parts of the graph in Flash. I think a lot of it was really new in the way you could manipulate the graph — if you wanted to take out certain pollsters, certain candidates, methods, like telephone or Internet, and then you could see the way the trend lines move. You can embed those custom versions.

I think the election tool was also a huge success [too], both technologically and on the design and journalism side. We got linked to from Daring Fireball. We also got linked to from ReadWriteWeb and a lot of more newsy sites. Andrew Sullivan said it was the best place to watch the elections. Because we took that leap and said we’re not going to use Flash, we got a lot of attention from the technology community. And we got a lot of attention from kind of the more political community because of how useable and engaging the site was. It was kind of a double whammy on that.

LKM: What was your experience working with reporters in the newsroom? TPM is turning ten years old, but it’s still got more of a startup feel than a traditional newspaper.

AS: It’s definitely a startup. I would fade in and out of the newsroom. Sometimes I’d be working on infrastructure projects that dealt with the greater site design or something with the ad side, or something beyond the day-to-day news. But then I’d work with the reporters and editors quite a bit when there was a special project that involved breaking news.

So for example, for the Colbert-Stewart rallies we put up a special Twitter wire where our reporters go out to the rallies and send in tweets and the tweets would get piped into a special wire and they’d go right onto the homepage. I worked with editors on how that wire should feel and how it should work and how reporters should interact with it. I remember one concern was, what if someone accidentally tweets somethng and it ends up on the homepage. How do we delete that? I came up with this system with command hashtags, so a reporter could send in a tweet with a special code on it which would delete a certain tweet and no one else would know about that, except for the reporter.

A lot of the job was figuring out what reporters and editors wanted to do and figuring out how to enable that with the technology we had and with the resources we had.

LKM: I remember an instance in my old newsroom where we had a tweet go up on the front page of another site and the frantic emails trying to get it taken down.

AS: Twitter is such an interesting medium because it’s so immediate, but it’s also permanent. We’re having a lot of fun with it, but we’re still learning how best to do it. We did this thing called multi-wire during the midterms, which was a combination of tweets and blog posts in one stream. There was a lot of experimentation with: When do we tweet as compared to a blog post? Should we restrict it to certain hours? That was a really interesting experiment.

LKM: What emerging trends do you see going on in data-driven or interactive journalism?

AS: It’s really good that a lot of sites are starting to experiment more with data-driven journalism, especially as web frameworks and cheap cloud hosting become more prevalent and you can learn Rails and Django, it’s really easy to get a site up that’s based around data you can collect. I do see two kind of disturbing trends that are also happening. One is the rise of infographics. They may not be as useful as they are pretty. You see that a lot just all over the place now. The other problem you see is the complete opposite of that where you’ll get just a table of data filling up your whole screen. The solution is somewhere in between that. You have a better way of getting into it.

It’s really great that there’s kind of a community forming around people that are both journalists and programmers. There’s this great group called Hacks/Hackers that brings those two cohorts together and lets them learn from each other.

LKM: How about at ProPublica? You mentioned you aren’t sure entirely what you’re going to do, but broadly, what do you hope to accomplish there?

AS: I’m most excited about working more closely with journalists on data sets and finding the best ways of presenting those and turning them into applications. That was one thing I was able to do with Poll Tracker, but it didn’t seem like TPM had as big of a commitment to individual stories that could have side applications. Poll Tracker was more of a long-running project. ProPublica is really into delving deeply onto one subject and finding data that can be turned into an application so the story isn’t just a block of text, there’s another way of getting at it.

One of the other things they’re working on is more tools for crowdsourcing and cultivating sources. I know that they want to start building an app or a series of apps around that. And they’re doing some cool stuff with Amazon Mechanical Turk for kind of normalizing and collecting data. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more fun stuff to do like that.

October 21 2010

17:09

Journalists Should Play and Discuss Newsgames Like 1378(km)

Evangelizing newsgames is not just about convincing journalists that they should create and use games to express ideas and inform the public. It's also about getting journalists to recognize newsgames that are created outside of professional institutions as works in dialogue with their field. Even if a person cannot produce a game on his own, newsgames can still be shared and discussed. Expending a modest amount of effort in this capacity would go a long way toward the adoption of newsgames as a form.

1378(km)

Last week we wrote on our project blog about the media's reception of a German student-produced non-commercial game, 1378(km). The student intended to build a little world that addressed the issues of both the Eastern and Western halves of Germany during the Cold War. Due to be released on the 20th anniversary of the unification of Germany, it has already sparked controversy thanks to the reaction from memorial organizations and some families of those killed while trying to leave the Communist East. Like many of the other videogame controversies surrounding real world events, the groups said that 1378(km) was insensitive and the subject was not appropriate for a medium associated with play and fun.

Journalists unfamiliar with the concept of newsgames covered the story with characteristic impartiality. Articles from the BBC, CBC, Reuters, and Time look almost identical. The facts of the story are described in plain detail; stakeholders were given equal (but not ample) opportunity to explain themselves. The issue is that, while the journalists made their readers aware of the subject in question, they did nothing to explore the issues involved. Below is a trailer/teaser for the game:

None of the writers consulted with outside sources to determine the context in which the student's game exists. None of the writers asked to play an early build of the game in order to analyze the issue. The outcome of their inquiry was a report: A factual, but dreadfully boring report.

Because the game had not yet been released, the controversy surrounding it has forced its creator to push back the release by a few months. It's therefore premature to judge its integrity as a documentary game engaged in a journalistic role. But the treatment it received signaled the news media's belief that it was not -- and could not -- be a significant contribution to the historical dialogue.

Part of our duty as newsgames researchers is to explicate the newsgame's potential. Our book, Newsgames: Journalism at Play, concludes with the charge that journalists should take risks and produce these kinds of games. But we underplayed the importance of asking news professionals to look for, investigate, and even scrutinize games being created by those outside of the industry.

Getting Journalists Involved

How can journalists involve themselves in this dialogue? It's easy: Play and discuss.

When we started our research, we had an idea of what a newsgame would look like (short games about recent topics in the news), and the capacity in which it would function (raising awareness while taking a stance). We did not immediately know that games could be used to do journalism, but we had an inkling and decided to take the plunge. It was by playing and discussing that we learned newsgames manifest themselves in varied forms. We now ask professional journalists to do the same.

The tool that we're currently building to help produce newsgames will not succeed without the help of professional journalists. To this end, we wish to share our knowledge, encourage discussion between journalists and newsgames producers, and promote the potential contributions of a complementary way of delivering the news.

In our book we identify seven categories of newsgames: Current event, infographic, documentary, puzzle, games for communities, games about journalism, and platforms for creating games. These are not all the possible categories, of course, but they illustrate the variety of uses and forms. Until the relationship between documentary filmmaking and journalism is demonstrated, the burgeoning potential of the historical interpretation taking place in 1378(km) lies untapped and unexplained.

We ask that journalists play newsgames and share them among each other. You don't have to be an expert in games to detail your experiences of playing and share how you feel about the material. The best way to develop expertise is to immerse oneself in examples. By doing so, journalists will be able to respond to works produced by non-professionals. They can then provide valuable feedback by highlighting the strengths of the work and making suggestions to address its weaknesses. Game designers would benefit greatly from this feedback as it would bolster their work -- and news professionals would benefit by developing an understanding of an emerging format for news content.

October 15 2010

10:59

AN INFOGRAPHIC THAT NEEDS WORS TO EXPLAIN IT!

The Times of London has today a brilliant and brave leading editorial:

Keeping Shameful Company: Iran has systematically undermined Middle East peace, promoted terrorism and sought a nuclear weapons capability. British businesses have helped it.

And explains:

Iran aims at the annihilation of a member state of the UN. It should not, in any circumstances, have access to overseas capital. Yet when President Clinton sought to impose sweeping sanctions on Iran in the mid-1990s, the UK banks Barclays and Lloyds TSB went to elaborate lengths to enable the Iranians to circumvent them. The most flagrant manoeuvre was to remove references to the identity of Iranian clients in transactions so that US authorities would not be alerted to the transfer of funds from Iran.

Later in pages 38 and 39, The Times tells with more words the story of these dealings.

And as you can see (but not understand), includes an infographic about How they were linked


Well, if you are able to understand this infographic without reading the editorial or the long article, you are my hero.

What a chaos of arrows and lack of clarity!

If the the Malofiej Awards had a category for the worst graphic of the year, this is a serious candidate.


July 15 2010

13:11

THE NEW YORK TIMES INFOGRAPHICS ABOUT BP EFFORTS TO STOP THE LEAKING OIL

0714-nat-SPILLweb

This is the last one.

But you can see the full collection of infographics here.

The team: JONATHAN CORUM, AL GRANBERG, MIKA GRONDAHL, XAQUIN G.V., HAEYOUN PARK and GRAHAM ROBERTS.

The source: BP.

Amazing work!

(Thanks to Michael Agar)

June 14 2010

20:59

THE INFOGRAPHIC SOCCER MANIA

megainfografia

INNOVATION’s Chiqui Esteban is posting some of the best infos about the Soccer World Cup.

Including his animated ones from lainformacion.com

What a fantastic crop!

Kudos to La Prensa Grafica in El Salvador and Record in Mexico.

Yes, infographics is a latino manía.

They rule.

Finish

May 19 2010

08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – making good infographics

Flowing Data shares some pointers for a good infographic: "Have an idea, get the data, choose your tools, edit wisely, and above all else, pay close attention to detail". Full post at this link. Tipster: Judith Townend. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


April 15 2010

12:14

THE ICELAND VOLCANO ERUPTION AND THE MAPS CHALLENGE

2010-04-15_1307

Good visual journalist be alert!

How do you believe in these maps when the information is not very good?

Look at the first ones and you will see how unreliable they are.

This will be a great challenge for my infographic friends.

But they will end doing a good job.

You will see.

The BBC has done this basic one:

BBCAshes

Anoher version with the same data posted by the European edition of The Wall Street Journal website from the U.K. Met Office with an illustration of the volcanic ash dispersion from the surface to 20,000 feet, issued at 6 a.m. on Thursday.

OB-ID963_icelan_G_20100415070452

And The Telegraph included this picture from a real-time radar image showing all aircraft movements in UK airspace at 9.30am today.

The image from www.radarvirtuel.com shows how ash from the Icelandic volcano stopped all flights in the northern parts of UK.

2010-04-15_1310

Lainformacion.com in Spain has a bigger map with more or less the same data.

2010-04-15_1320

El Pais in Madrid shows the Meteosat 9 images and this the best way to understand the size and impact of the volcanic ashes.

2010-04-15_1327

And in Twitter going to ashes you can see this incredibly beautiful picture

26236_1428974328969_1371165971_31160820_3980022_n

More, later.

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl