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Archives: December 2008

10,000 Words Year-end wrap up and word cloud

In celebration of the new year, here is a word cloud of the text of every 10,000 Words post this year (click the image for a larger view). As you can see, a variety of topics have been covered in the past months.

Thank you, grazie, obrigado, danke, gracias, köszönöm to the top blog referrers this year. If you like this blog, please check out these great resources as well:

New Media

Mindy McAdams
Ponto Media
Multimedia Shooter
Martin Stabe
Faz Caber
sans serif
Andy Dickinson


Just Creative Design
I Love Typography
Design Shack


Clicked (MSNBC)
Mira y Calla

And a big thank you to everyone for reading 10,000 Words and contributing to its amazing growth over the year. See you in 2009!

Mediabistro Course

Get a Literary Agent

Get a Literary AgentWork with a publishing consultant to find the right agent for your book and write a query that will get the deal done! Starting December 3, learn the best methods for finding a literary agent, how to choose the right agent for your book, the etiquette of seeking literary representation, and how to stand out among the numerous queries agents receive daily. Register now!

Sports arenas: How to put a multimedia twist on traditional coverage

The sports section is often the most popular, yet most homogeneous, part of most online news sites. Most online sports coverage is an unenthusiastic mishmash of stats, photos and blogs, with the occasional podcast thrown in. Online sports fans demand more sophisticated coverage and news organizations can provide it by covering the fans’ home base: the sports arena.

Ballena Technologies takes advantage of online technology by offering virtual tours of a variety of American sports arenas — from basketball to hockey and everything in between — including one for the Oakland Coliseum, home of the Oakland As baseball team (pictured below). In each Flash-based tour, users can hover over a seat and find out the price for that section or click to check out the view from that seat.

The New York Times has taken the idea of a virtual tour and pumped some adrenaline into it with its tour of the Hahnenkamm downhill ski course. The two minute-long computer-animated simulation is narrated by champion skier Doug Lewis and brings some insight into what otherwise is an indescribable experience.

Obviously these web projects take time and money to create, but documenting a sports arena can still be done on a smaller (and less expensive) scale.

Earlier this year, the Sacramento Bee produced a Flash-based interactive guide to the city’s public courses. Sports photographer Kari Kuuka snapped some eye-popping panoramic images of the Beijing Olympics, as did the New York Times.

Similar panoramas can be created using a digital camera and stitching software or a specially built panoramic cameras like those available from Gigapan (More on panoramas here).

And of course sports coverage and maps go hand in hand. TennisMaps is an online searchable database of US tennis courts. Some of the world’s motor racing circuits are viewable on a map created by Grand Prix Live. And college football fans can find nearby eateries, hotels and more at

Providing a lasting resource to sports fans doesn’t have to be a time-consuming endeavor. To demonstrate this, I have built a handy interactive map of the home arenas of every NFL (American football), MLB (baseball) and NBA (basketball) team. The entire process took about a day, but could theoretically last forever. Click the small version below to view the full map.

Just what are they teaching future journalists?

One of the biggest complaints about modern journalism schools is that they aren’t equipping the next wave of journalists with the skills they need to compete in today’s newsrooms. So what are they teaching students? The online course descriptions for several J-schools were run through Wordle. Here are the results:

Medill Graduate School of Journalism

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

More after the jump

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Asian College of Journalism

UNC Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communications


Here are a few more word cloud analyses from around the blogosphere:

Reynolds School of Journalism
created by Jessica Estepa

Boston University’s JO540 Multimedia Journalism class
created by Steve Garfield

News databases: Turning numbers into knowledge

Posting large amounts of data on the web violates the very reason the internet exists. Creating a well-presented news database requires a lot of time and effort, but in the end provides an unmatched service. Here a few news sites that have taken advantage of new media technology to create exceptional databases:

Los Angeles Times Homicide Map

The tales of murder recounted in Jill Leovy’s Homicide Report blog were compiled into a database that visually illustrates the city’s lethal trend. The figures are sortable by age, race, gender and a number of other factors.

BBC News: Mapping UK’s teen murder toll

The BBC tells the same story — the startling number of teenagers killed in the country — four different ways with narrative text, a tabled list, a map, and an infographic of the statistics. The entire project is founded on a database of information that otherwise would be a list of faceless names. Broken Trust

Two years of investigative reporting and hundreds of man hours went into creating an index of Florida teachers accused of misconduct. The more than 750 teachers in the database are searchable right down to the street level.

Las Vegas Sun: Flight Delay Calculator

The Sun’s interactive map shows the frequency of delayed flights to and from McCarran Airport over a 12-year period. Users can search either for a particular flight route or click a city to discover the number of delays for that airport.

The New York Times: Casualties of War

The more than 4,000 U.S. service members who died in the Iraq war can seem like an overwhelming number. This interactive infographic lets users break down that number to determine when and where those deaths occurred.

Des Moines Register: Parkersburg Tornado

The Register combined text, photo and video accounts into a chilling, yet awe-inspiring database of the devastation and aftermath of the May 2008 tornado. CinciNavigator has created what is sure to be the future of online journalism: multi-level, searchable databases in which users can view layers of information on top of an interactive map. It sounds like a lot because it is, but the service and others like it will be incredibly useful for years to come.

For more information on what makes a good news database, check out Rich Gordon’s Data as journalism, journalism as data. Also, be sure to check out the work at EveryBlock and

Previously on 10,000 Words:
Tracking down criminals with crime maps
10 Mind-blowing maps (and 3 ways to create them)

The Typography of 'Milk'

Although Milk, the 2008 biopic starring Sean Penn as landmark political figure Harvey Milk, is sure to get Oscar nominations left and right for its tragically moving story, kudos are also in order to the production designers and editors for recreating and featuring the iconic typography of the day.

Here is some of the inspiring work from the film:

More after the jump