SSND online design winners

April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Student Society for News Design announced its awards for online design April 19. Syracuse and Missouri had strong showings. (Above is the splash page from Syracuse student David Miller’s piece, “Jerry’s Cabin.”

Among the winners:


Web sites:


Video: Narrative Visualization

November 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

information in the age of data

I have had a tremendously difficult time describing what I do as an information graphics specialist. “Oh, you’re the pie chart guy,” I often hear. I then explain that a pie chart is one arrow in a vast quiver, and I rattle off a dozen more forms that an information graphic might take. When I say I do “data visualization” instead of information graphics, that usually just stops the questions cold.

That said, Geoff McGhee at Stanford University has produced a video that explains, with great clarity and depth, how people in the information graphics field tell stories with data and images.

The video covers the genres of narrative vizualization, the tools and the methods. It tells you who’s who in the field and provides advice for getting started in data visualization.

Next time I have difficultly explaining the profession, I’m just going to offer this video.

College tuition costs

November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

If you want to keep track of skyrocketing college costs, consult the College Board, which puts out its “Trends in College Pricing” report each year in the fall. Above is the Wall Street Journal’s depiction of inflation-adjusted costs for tuition, room and board based on the College Board’s most recent data.

The report is a trove of data on topics such as teacher salaries, student aid amounts and state spending. You won’t find much information on individual institutions: the report breaks out costs for state flagship universities and provides state averages, but that’s it.

Here is a link to the College Board’s tuition report:

The nation’s report card

May 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Using standardized tests, the Department of Education rates states and school districts based on their students’ average scores in reading and math. The government calls the effort the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the “Nation’s Report Card.” Major news organizations report the numbers as soon as they are released, just as they would annual reports on federal spending or urban crime.

The scores range from zero to 500 and can appear meaningless unless you rank a state or district against its peers or against past performance. Good data visualization can be critical to helping readers understand this data. The example above comes from Randy Yeip at the Wall Street Journal, who clearly represented rankings, change from previous year, statistical significance and deviation from national averages all in a simple vertical chart.

The most recent NAEP report, on which this chart is based, can be found here:

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