What is Data Visualization?

Data Visualization is an intimidating name given to a simple concept. It is the study of the ‘ visual representation of data’. We actually use this more in our day-to-day life then you realize.

Sometimes visuals can do a better job at conveying information then our words can, and in today’s world of journalism this is a vital skill to learn!

Here is a link to a visual The Huffington Post put together in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown Conn. and the rising pressure for gun control reform. I think this visual is particularly impactful because we could write an article explaining the thousands of deaths that have occurred since Sandy Hook but instead we can convey the same through the use of a visual timeline.

Another interesting visual Propublica has produced on the tracking of U.S. bailout money is eye-opening. Dots representing each hemisphere that received money, each dot starts at a billion dollars! It helps to put into perspective for readers just HOW much money was put into bailing out U.S. companies in 2008. This is a quick and concise way to convey a hefty amount of information.

 

A less digital form of ‘data visualization’ I think is the use of photos in a succession throughout a story. Which is relied on heavily in restaurant reviews and by food writers. The photos help add depth to the story and bring the reader into their dining experience. A blog I enjoy reading is Eat. Live.Blog which always has great photos of the different restaurants the writer visits.

Data Visualization can be used in stories of any kind. Hard news, feature pieces and everything in between. It is a way to add a level to multimedia to your work as well as an innovative  way to tell your story.

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Boston Restaurant Week!

Restaurant week is by FAR one of my favorite times of the year, along with Thanksgiving and Christmas and other occasions revolving around great food.

I could spend hours perusing the different menus offered just drooling. Restaurant Week is a time in big cities all over the country when restaurants come together offering special dining opportunities at a steal of a price. Restaurant Week is a time where you can go to the restaurant ‘you’ve been dying to try’ and get an amazing meal without burning a hole in your pocket.  Boston’s Restaurant week dates are : March 17th-22nd and this week, March 24th-29th

  • 3 Course Dinner for $38.13
  • 3 Course Lunch for $20.13
  • 2 Course Lunch for $15.13

For those who did not take advantage of Boston Restaurant week last week, this week is your last chance. Go, go, go!

Out of the plethora of great restaurants participating this year, here are some reviews of my favorites around the city!

Brasserie Joe – classic French cuisine

Sweet Cheeks Barbecue – Texas barbecue

Empire   -Asian fusion.

MET Back Bay – Contemporary American

Radius – American

Tremont 647 – American

Zocalo Boston – Mexican

Happy Eating

The Role of Social Media in the ‘Food World’

For my next project I want to focus on how different people, in different areas of ‘the food world’ interact with social media and the web. How the use of social media has helped further their businesses in ways it otherwise could not.

The food world in all its capacities has been changed immensely by the use of social media and the web. We can now make our dinner reservations online, restaurants have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Food bloggers can gain their own strides without being published in a mainstream paper.

Renee Hirschberg, a local boston food blogger and restaurant critic who has graciously agreed to speak with me. The web and social media is an integral part of her business and I am looking forward to hearing her thoughts on how her business has evolved other the past decade and how the use of social media has helped her progress.

I have also contacted  the two co-founders of ‘The Fresh Truck’. Daniel Clarke and Josh Trautwein, both Northeastern graduates, have taken an old school bus and retro-fitted it into a mobile farmers market set to hit the ground this coming summer. The aim of  ‘The Fresh Truck’ is to bring local, fresh, affordable produce to lower-income neighborhoods surrounding Boston that do not have easy access to nutritious food. To create community involvement and stimulate change to help build stronger, healthier communities. I am intrigued to hear their thoughts on how social media and the web has made their endeavors possible thus far as well how they plan to continue using it once they are up and roaming through Boston’s neighborhoods.

I am still looking for a few more, local sources and would love any suggestions!

Happy Eating

‘The Burger’ at Radius

RADIUS BURGER

There is no better way to  break up a long, stressful work day then to sit down to a nice lunch.  I was craving a good burger, and in my quest to find just the right place I came across a list on The Boston Globe professing ‘ The Best Burgers in Boston.’

The list covered every facet from fancy to funky and of course your classic greasy cheeseburger. I have frequented ‘Five Guys’ and their delicious cheeseburgers many a time and was looking for something a bit more refined… which led me to Radius. Not a restaurant where you would typically think to order a cheeseburger; when the lunch menu includes octopus and tuna tartare.

“Our Burger is different because we use a different cut of meat then the average. ‘We serve a dense 9oz patty made up of 90% ground sirloin and 10% ground chuck. Which gives it a deeper flavor.” according to General Manager, Augusto Gabriel. 

‘The Burger’ is served on a light and sweet house-made brioche bun. The burger is perfectly complemented with fresh Vermont cheddar cheese and a horseradish sauce which has a bite but is certainly not overpowering. As well, some crispy-fried onion strings… and that can do no wrong.

There is certainly nothing worse than getting a GREAT burger and the classic companion of french fries are lack-luster. Radius does a great job of making their fries crispy!

Radius is clean and sophisticated – a lunchtime favorite for local businessmen but certainly is not stuffy. With ornate crown moldings and bold red walls and modern accents Radius is a great representation of old Boston style meets new Boston flavor.  I sat bar side chatting with the bartender Rudy, who was knowledgable of ‘The Burger’ as well as other Boston contenders in the burger world.

Radius is located at 8 High street, on the corner of Summer street. Adjacent to the South Station T stop on the Red line.

Radius is handicap accessible, serving lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:00pm

Happy Eating

Mapping as a Graphic Tool

Mapping  and other graphic visuals like infographics and charticles (articles themselves that are entirely a graphic) I think are a beneficial tools that can be overlooked in classic print journalism. I think the idea of incorporating visuals into their written pieces for some journalist can be daunting, for fear that their writing will be overlooked or seen as less as important in comparison. Graphics are more commonly used in broadcast pieces naturally and sometimes in longer feature writing for magazines – but in this ever-changing world of journalism we need to play to the trends of the future by being more multi-media and graphic oriented.

Written content, posted online through a newspaper website, blog or forum should not be overlooked or debased by incorporating graphics, they should be used as a tool to enhance the written story – to make information more easily conveyed as well as just to offer more visual stimulation.

In the world of broadcast journalism you are expected to be a one-man-band. You are your editor, your camera man, your script writer as well as the reporter.

In print and multimedia journalism you are now also a one-man-band. You are your writer, your editor, your graphic designer as well as your reporter.

There are certain areas in stories that lend themselves well to the incorporation of visual graphics and maps. Trying to explain in an article the recent budget-cut plan approved by President Obama  would lend itself well to a graph. Another example I found that worked well is explaining where relief aid went geographically after Hurricane Sandy rocked the greater New York City area and eastern coast. Graphic courtesy of ProPublica.org.

An ‘oldie but goodie’ trend in visual graphics is a US map during presidential races and campaigns– showing party allegiances in the 50 states. Writing out in a lengthy article which candidate has ‘won’ what state and which are still being contested would take a while to read through but taking that same information and displaying it as a visual graphic is not only more immediate but also more impactful and concise.

Mapping and graphics are beneficial on a global scale of large stories, but also in smaller local stories. Boston.com used an interactive map to display reported pot-holes in the Greater Boston. The information seems a bit comical, but being informed that there is a huge pothole along your daily route to work could certainly save you a lot of aggravation. Similar to the map above, this information lends itself well to a graphic because writing out where every pothole is in Boston would make for an extremely long article. With an interactive map you can jump directly to the areas of the city that you travel through daily and see if you need to make adjustments to your morning commute.

The use of interactive maps, graphics and visuals is a way to add a new level to a body of written work. As well, it is an innovative way to appeal to dominantly visually receptive world.

Benefits of eating a Mediterranean diet.

A few weeks ago I read an interesting article on the Boston Globe website about the health benefits of a mediterranean diet. It’s a dream! Food so delicious and rich is also good for you.

Since finding out that I will be spending a few months in the lovely country of Greece this coming fall I have become just googly-eyed  with the thought of all the culinary gems I’ll come across and couldn’t help but  pass along my excitement.

According to Kay Lazar’s article and research studies done by  the American Heart Association, it is now found that a mediterranean diet can help prevent heart disease.

A diet low in red meat and rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and olive oil. Replacing ‘bad fat’ from meats and processed foods with ‘good fats’ like olive oil and omega 3 fatty-acids that are found in nuts.
In the spirit of health and fine dining, here is a link to some of Boston’s best Mediterranean cuisine according to Zagat.

Eating good food is not just about fueling the body, but also the heart and soul… and the taste buds!

Try incorporating some mediterranean love into your dinnertime with these recipes.

Happy Eating

Exploring Reading Terminal Market

Trending in Boston has ventured to explore the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ for the weekend, Philadelphia!

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to explore the local cuisine and hot spots. While in Philly I went to visit Reading Terminal Market. Similar to Faneuil Hall right here in Boston, but much larger and with a bit more variety. Boasting more than 80 vendors, Reading Terminal is a melting pot of different cuisines, local delicacies and an open market  where you can do your weekly shopping.

Full of delicious smells and passionate people, weaving through the aisles of Reading Terminal is an experience not to be missed.