Ben Fry on visualizations and Processing

Posted by on Jan 25, 2010 in Blog, class, data visualizations | No Comments

I’ve been working with Processing for a few weeks now.  Some people have asked me when I’m going to start delving into the data set for my final project.  Good question.  The answer is that I’m still trying to get some of these theory and technical tools down.  I’ve been having a lot of fun […]

Keep it subtle, stupid: Differentiating data values in visualizations

Posted by on Jan 25, 2010 in Blog, class, tufte | No Comments

I’m not anything resembling a visual genius, but I like to believe I have enough of an eye that I can tell what works and what doesn’t.  The reason Tufte’s books are so helpful is that they tell me why something works, and give me rules so I know what I can and can’t do.  […]

Changes in the numbers of students majoring in programming and social sciences

What is a traditional path to programming nowadays? It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot, esp. in the realm of the journalist-programmer. So many people from the older school of journalism came through using databases as tools to help with reporting, not because they took a class in it. That’s certainly encouraging for […]

Committing fact errors in visualizations

Posted by on Jan 18, 2010 in Blog, class, data visualizations, tufte | No Comments

At Medill, there’s a wonderful tradition called the “Medill F.”  Make a factual error of any sort, and you fail the assignment.  The sadistic part of me likes it — a journalist’s job is to tell the truth.  If you miss the mark, you’ve failed the public, and failed at your job for the day. […]

Data Delver: Ted Mellnik, Charlotte Observer database editor

Computer-assisted reporting is important because of its potential for reporting and analysis.  Visualization is important to present the information to readers. They both fall under the responsibilities of Ted Mellnik, database editor at the Charlotte Observer. His passion for data is as clear from a conversation with him as it is from his work.  Combine […]

Importance of combining data analysis with context (reflections on readings from week two)

“Visual and Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Making Decisions,” Edward Tufte, Visual Explanations This chapter gave practical examples of something I’ve been saying from almost the first day of my data analysis journey — that it’s absolutely fundamental that the decisions behind the analysis are shown to the reader/user.  Data’s never perfect, and if […]

Which states have been hit hardest by unemployment in the last decade?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2010 in Blog, CAR, class, data visualizations | One Comment

I matched up the unemployment rates for each state in November 2009 with the unemployment rates from Nov. 1999, that is, the same measurements from a decade prior. Then, I calculated the absolute change of the unemployment rate, to see which states have been hit the hardest, looking at the quantity of citizens they are able to keep employed.

Data set here, culled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reflections on Visualization Theory (Data viz readings, week 1)

In this first set of reading, I learn that the principles of simplicity, accuracy and more are as true in data visualization as they are in a text story. Edward Tufte, Visual Explanations, “Images and Quantities” In Tufte’s first paragraph of Visual Explanations, he discusses the importance of readability — a concept I see as […]

My new perspective on math – it’s a journalistic tool!

Posted by on Jan 4, 2010 in Blog, class | No Comments

Tomorrow, Jan. 4, means the beginning of an end to my formal graduate education. It’s the first day of my final quarter at Medill. I’ll be returning to the Evanston campus for the first time since June 2009, primarily for an independent study on data visualization with Medill professor Rich Gordon. I’ll also be taking […]