“Transparency is the new black”

I am:

  1. floored
  2. enamored

with this compilation by Geoff McGhee on data visualization in journalism. It’s seriously worth a Friday night in – popcorn, dimmed lights, the works. Watch it in the annotated version.

Some highlights:

  • The New York Times‘ Amanda Cox has insights sprinkled throughout. I especially love her thoughts on nonlinear narrative and storytelling.
  • Malofiej conversation about the balance between art and useful visualization. Hear, hear! There are so many infographics out there that are eye candy, and it feels oxymoronic to parse info from what should already be a filtered supplement. (ch. 4)
  • I couldn’t stop laughing when they spliced snippets of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest with Malofiej. Pretty sure that’s Evgeni Plushenko dramatically skating out those singers’ lyrics in a 20′ x 10′ oval. (ch. 4)
  • The Felton Report – “Teeth lost by cat: 1.” (ch. 5)
  • “Transparency is the new black,” said Sarah Slobin of WSJ. (ch. 6)
  • HTML 5, JavaScript, Flash geekiness. ♥ (ch. 7)
  • Creating infographics that provide long-term return. (Chase Davis in ch. 7)
  • I can’t wait to start experimenting with the tools! I’ve played around with a lot of online multimedia freeware, and some of them are good in theory but not particularly intuitive in practice. Protovis, based in JavaScript, looks especially promising (ch. 8*)

I find “titillate” uncomfortable in the pairing of sound and meaning, but the word has rarely felt more appropriate. Graphics and programming, the organization of information – it really whet my appetite to jump into programming logic. I found myself dreaming in vaguely familiar and parallel concepts, mostly multidimensional arrays.

On another note, I didn’t know what to make of the Knight News Challenge winners this year. Most were either building off platforms that already existed or info visualization, and it felt like a departure from previous KNCs. This documentary really put the judges’ mindset in context for me: Democratization or advancement of information visualization.

*Some low-level geekiness: If “8” and “)” are next to each other – as in (ch. 8) – WP automatically changes it to the cool emoticon. The <pre> tag renders it but changes the font and chops up the lines.


Filed under: Internet, Journalism, Storytelling, , , , , , , , , , ,

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