Data Visualization for Journalists

With the rise of easily accessible information and datasets, it is becoming increasingly important for journalists to know how to extract stories and create an accurate visualization of the data. The goal of this podcast is to introduce data visualization and explain its importance.

In this episode I discuss the key concepts of creating an aesthetically pleasing infographic, as well as suggest some tools and software that journalists should learn to use to represent their data. Additionally, I define several terms that are used frequently in the field, and discuss the importance of being truthful and transparent.

I incorporate ideas from two prominent figures in the field of data visualization, Alberto Cairo and Enrico Bertini through out my discussion. Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Communication at the School of Communication at the University of Miami. Bertini is a professor of visualization at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.

Bertini states that a great visualization has five qualities:

  1. It is truthful.
  2. It is functional.
  3. It is beautiful.
  4. It is insightful.
  5. It is enlightening.

Check out the first episode of Data Viz for Journalists to learn more about these qualities:

Links from this episode:




My website:

Favorite spots to eat on Court Street

Court Street provides a wide variety of places to eat and drink. Whether one visits one of the many bars or one of the several coffee shops, uptown Athens knows how to please even the pickiest of eaters. In this video I take a trip on Court Street and interview two patrons about their favorite spot uptown.

In the know about InDesign

Good afternoon, fellow designerds, and Happy Valentines day. Speaking of which, I included a link to a tutorial for those of you that need to make those last minute Valentines cards.

Here is the latest scoop:

Brand new to InDesign?

If you are a subscriber of this newsletter, you probably are not. However, in case you need a refresher and happen to have a couple hours of free time, @InDesign tweeted a link to not one, but 49 free tutorials last Friday:

Last minute Valentines

 of posted a cute tutorial today on how to make a heart pattern using conditional text. Even if you already have your valentines ready to go, the method discussed by Vaughn can be used for any of the glyphs included in your chosen font.

Meet the artist behind InDesign’s latest loading screen

Jean-Michel Verbeeck is his name, and killer illustrations are his game. Verbeeck is multidisciplinary Art Director from Los Angeles, California, currently working at BUCK. His piece, titled Andonian, was recently selected by Adobe to be the newest piece of art that is displayed while the software starts up. You can check out his piece, which is part of a series titled Moodfamily II, on his Behance page.

For those of you working in the publishing industry

Reddit user dr_doombot666 posted last Friday on /r/indesign about an issue that often plagues designers who have to rely on office networks to open and save .indd files. In my experience, working from a network can easily double the amount of time spent designing.  Networks are finicky things, but a few Reddit users had some suggestions for dr_doombot666.

InDesign 2015 CC runs real slow, constant spinning wheel especially when accessing the hyperlinks panel from indesign

Looking for more?

The capabilities of InDesign are astonishing, and I am constantly finding features tucked away in the software I never knew existed. YouTube is your friend, but it only goes so far. To find answers to your specific questions, I recommend subscribers check out the help forums at:

Until next time, design cadets.

In the Know about Indesign is published Tuesdays at 3 p.m. and is updated daily on The newsletter discusses the latest updates in the InDesign user community, and updates subscribers with the latest conferences, conventions, and events regarding InDesign.

5 pleasant vacation photos and their assumed unpleasant backstories

The stories behind these vacation photos will haunt your dreams and possibly change your perspective on life.

Vacations are a time to relax, unwind, and let go of the stresses of your life. They can be a time to try something new, to be spontaneous and exciting. The folks in these photos appear to be enjoying their vacations, but take a closer look and you will just barely make out the tragedy in their eyes.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Petr Kratochvil

1.) An afternoon of sea kayaking took a turn for the worse when the cruise ship behind these adventurers ran into the massive iceberg just out of the frame.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures via kai Stachowiak

2.) Edith, an avid motorcyclist and self proclaimed badass, rode out on that dusty road with no intentions of ever looking back at the life she once knew. Until she realized she forgot her suitcase.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Piotr Wojcicki

3.) Seymour prefers to spend his vacation in his backyard, deep in thought and silent reflection. He always makes sure to leave his phone, keys, pants, wallet, and other everyday distractions inside before venturing out into nature.

Photo by PublicDomainPhotos via Jean Beaufort

4.) All Penelope ever wanted was to be able to enjoy a refreshing week out on the slopes. Upon arriving at the lodge, however, she was forced into volunteering for the search and rescue team, and has not left the resort since.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Petr Kratochvil

5.) Sebastian wanted to go to Disney World. Instead, his forgetful and utterly incompetent parents took him and his sister to some lame island resort in the middle of the Caribbean or whatever.

Porch thoughts from Franklin Avenue

The view from my porch on Franklin Avenue is rather lovely, even on the cloudiest of days.

My favorite place in Athens has always been where I’m most comfortable. When you boil it down, I’m most comfortable when I know I have a sanctuary to return to. So if I were to pick my favorite place to be in Athens, it would have to be my front porch on Franklin Avenue.

Alright, I know there are plenty of other beautiful and exciting places in the county I could have chosen. I like to think that I appreciate those locations, for I too, have been blown away countless times by the beauty of Athens. But when it comes down to my personal favorite, I have to choose the place where I can be myself, close to the comforts of my home, but simultaneously be connected to my local community.

I remember when I was younger being confused by the people that spent afternoons sitting on their front porches watching the world go by. To me it seemed that they were wasting their time. How could someone let hours slip by and not get up from their front porch?

I was always moving as a child, ready to move to the next thing. I wasn’t necessarily overly hyperactive, but I certainly was not patient enough to relax on a porch for a full afternoon. I required non-stop activity.

As a young adult, I’ve changed my views on porch sitting. I’ve fallen in love with watching people. Simply observing the world go by. Even though I still carry that anxious “What’s next?” thought from my childhood, I have learned that some of the more interesting experiences come from simply being able to sit back, wait, and observe.

I’ve had several front porches in Athens since my freshman year at Ohio University in 2013. Each of those has been unique to me, but I won’t/can’t return to those porches because they now belong to a new set of people. I can only hope that they appreciate the pleasures of porch sitting as much I did, and take advantage of their front porch.

I encourage the readers to spend some time on their porch. Bring a good book, a beverage, or maybe even a sketchbook if you feel like that would be helpful. I recommend leaving the screens indoors (phones, laptops, tablets). However, beware of the immense pleasures of porch sitting, and don’t let it get in the way of your studies and social life. If you’re really curious, check out the Wikipedia article on porch-sitting.

The infamous stop sign that nobody stops at.

My house happens to sit on the corner by a stop sign on Franklin Avenue. Within the first week of sitting out on my porch I realized that people often won’t see the stop sign, and speed by. But I have noticed that occasionally some people notice the stop sign a second too late, but they’ll still slow down as if they were going to stop, after they’ve already passed the stop sign.

I spend at least an hour a day sitting on my porch. Sometimes I have things on my mind. Schoolwork, family, friends. The more I sit on the porch and eliminate the distractions, however, I am able to have meaningful dialogues with myself. It’s mildly meditative, but more often than not, it’s simply a refreshing break from today’s bustling world.