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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