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Chapter 11: Digital Storytelling: Design and Data

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  1. Forbes magazine in the United States and the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain have created maps to indicate the most influential media in each country. Check out the interactive maps at http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/media-map.html and http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/may/16/twitter-news-map-britain. Figure out what stories can be developed from this picture. Check out the databases for how you might be able to localize the story and focus the map on your state or city.
  2. David McCandless, a data journalist and information designer, has created several interactive data visualizations at http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/. Click the play pull-down and examine his look at health claims or media scare stories. Figure out what stories can be developed from these visualizations.
  3. Go to www.wordle.net or IBM’s http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/ and create a tag cloud (IBM) or word cloud (Wordle) from a State of the Union or State of the State address. Try to contrast and compare word clouds from one year’s speech to the next. Figure out what stories can be developed from these visualizations.
  4. Check out the information from the Poynter Institute’s EyeTrack study to pick up a few ideas on how to better design your multimedia material.
  5. Go to http://www.nsse.iub.edu/, the website for the National Survey of Student Engagement and find the latest survey results report. Decide on what story you want to tell from the report and figure out a data visualization project to do so.


Links to articles and websites about data visualization and data journalism

The Guardian’s investigation of the 2011 riots

The Guardian’s data store

David McCandless, data journalist and information designer

Geoff McGhee—Journalism in the age of data

Andy Kirk—Visualising data blog by

Knight Digital Media Center information on data visualization

European Journalism Centre and The Data Journalism Handbook
http://datadrivenjournalism.net/ and http://datajournalismhandbook.org

Book review: The Data Journalism Handbook

10 ways news reporting can flourish in the digital age

Data journalism: Three tools for getting started

Anyone can do it. Data journalism is the new punk

How and why you should do data journalism

How to use fun (and free) data visualization tools for online storytelling

People are tired of bad infographics, so make good ones

When big data is bad data

Links to websites with data visualization tools

Tableau Public


Flowing Data

Interactive Things

IBM’s Many Eyes


Rogers, S. (2011). Facts Are Sacred: The Power of Data. London: Guardian Books.

Segel, E. &. Heer, J. (2010, October 24). Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics.

Wong, D. M. (2010). Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics. New York/London: W.W. Norton & Company.