Journalism in the Age of Data
October 4, 2010 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Journalism in the Age of Data: a documentary about data visualization as a storytelling medium. (Total running time: 54 minutes; annotated with links and related information).
posted by brundlefly (6 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Journalism in the Age of Dada.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:25 AM on October 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

I haven't watched the OP's video yet, but the end section of this panel session has a discussion of journalism and data that may be relevant. There are a few glaring omissions to the discussion, but it's worth a watch. I suspect the emphasis is more on using data to drive traditional journalism-as-stories rather than visualisations, but interesting nonetheless.
posted by djgh at 11:53 AM on October 4, 2010

Money quote:
I keep saying the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s? The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades, not only at the professional level but even at the educational level for elementary school kids, for high school kids, for college kids. Because now we really do have essentially free and ubiquitous data. So the complimentary scarce factor is the ability to understand that data and extract value from it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:57 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Wow. This hurts my head. In a good way. Sorta

There's so much being crunched into one. Statistics. Data collection. Data interpretation/translation over time or geopgraphy or narrative or x or y or z. Graphics generation, visualization and the back end that plugs the code into the raw data.

Seems a long way to go for so little and at the end of the day it's all a take off on Tufte-ian information visualization techniques.

Also, a lot of the data graphics end up being tool (Flash, Java, HTML5) or application driven (take your pick...anything from excel and visio to high end 3D CAD-like stuff), which is okay but gets boring and uniformly codified too quickly OR the final images are data driven and the visuals just land wherever and end up looking like gigantic biological mutations or hyper-genitalia.

I'm not sure what's better.

It all seems to be leading to a very classical confrontation between narrative and graphics, and there's a reason those two fields are different and kept apart. There are some who can quickly use the applications and getting the graphics and images up, but I was never one of them. As soon as I get near the technology I sorta lose sight of the data and disappear up into the clouds of abstraction.

Call me short-sighted, but the most incredible graphical invention I know for data visualization and narrative is the written word. Everything else is techno-wankery via mostly Adobe applications.

I mean drill down works nice, maybe a flow chart here or there is awesome (but that's also simply a static representation of drill down) and storyboarding is pretty cool as well...

Anyhow truly awesome link though and one that I will probably go back to again and again....
posted by Skygazer at 12:35 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Great post, fascinating documentary. We're really only starting to understand how to present deep data in a meaningful way, and computers are helping us so much with visualizations across time, drill-down, and other ways to manipulate what might otherwise be a meaningless jumble of numbers. I'm glad to see that a wide range of people are working to move this 21st Century art form into one which is more intuitive for the end user / reader than ever before.

Also, kudos for the design of the FPP link web page itself. One of the few annotated video presentations I've seen which didn't make me want to get all stabby.
posted by hippybear at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2010

Looks like nickyskye's most recent FPP would be a good companion piece to this.
posted by brundlefly at 4:40 PM on October 4, 2010

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