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:

Chartsbin:
chartsbin.com/

ICharts:
icharts.net/

Geocommons:
geocommons.com/

My website:
www.chancebrinkman-sull.com

A major announcement from Court Street Stories

Greetings, Court Street Stories enthusiast! Welcome back to the website that brings you all your favorite quirks of Athens, Ohio from the minds of the future of journalism!

As we continue to explore the future mediums of journalism, we have noticed that we are under utilizing our resources in one of the dominant mediums in the field today: podcasts.

Podcasts are commonly known as audible feature stories. Media consumers have shown in recent years that they find hearing stories told audibly much more accessible than reading a daunting, 2,000 word feature.

Podcasts are also a useful analytical tool for complicated matters that require a lot of explanation. It’s easier to explain what you mean in a free form conversation than it is within the constraints of the written word, AP style etc.

Podcasts have been a prominent part of our sports staff’s repertoire for a few years now, but we are looking to expand our podcast network as well as improve the quality of our existing audio content. To lead us in our endeavor, we will be making the regular host and producer of our sports podcasts, James Watkins, the head of our podcast expansion efforts.

Watkins has been a hard-working contributor to our written content in his three years with the publication, but he came to our higher-ups with a vision of what our audio product could and should be, and we are going to give him a chance to make his visions a reality.

The exact details will be revealed when we release the detailed plan to our consumers, but in overarching terms, major changes will be as follows:

Expanded network: Essentially, sports has been the only staff consistently producing podcasts over the past few years. Even then, most of those podcasts have been related to interests unrelated to our product. We will touch on that below, but every staff is capable of producing a podcast.

There are tidbits that don’t make the final version of every story. New information comes to light that can add to a story from the previous day but doesn’t constitute writing a new story. Podcasts are a perfect medium to fill in the blanks and add further context to even the most basic stories.

You can dive into the process of how you wrote your 2,000 word Magnum Opus internship portfolio piece, hold a forum among friends about how to approach The Number Fest safely, interview a source about a pressing topic related to your beat, and everything in between.

Watkins comes from the sports angle, but he will not control everyone’s content. No one knows news better than news, culture better than culture, and so on and so forth. But, he understands how to approach a podcast, and he can help our staffers understand as well.

Improved current product: This is the primary motivation behind Watkins’ proposal. Between writing and podcasting about his beat, hosting and producing the leisurely podcasts on the side, and school work, he has spread himself too thin. He believes that with his energy focused solely on the audio product, our podcasts will be more frequent, more related to what we actually cover, and better researched and produced. The sum of all these things will make our audio product sound infinitely more professional, which could open other avenues for the medium in our future (sponsors, better guests, etc.)

Increase in hirability: This would be the product of all these changes. Journalism students are constantly being told how much they should be diversifying their skills in the industry to make themselves more attractive job candidates. Here at Court Street Stories, we see the writing, and we see the videography. Adding a podcast to every staff would only further raise the eyebrows of every employer who gets a resume from one of our staffers. It’s likely that at some point in our careers, we will be juggling multiple journalistic skills at the same time, and the best way to prepare is to practice.