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Posts Tagged ‘visualization’

Spain’s First-Ever Investigative, Data Journalism Master’s Program To Launch In Fall

The University Rey Juan Carlos of Madrid will launch Spain’s first-ever masters degree on investigative reporting, data journalism and visualization this fall, and Google will  provide six scholarships that pay 80 percent of recipients’ tuition.

The new program is organized by the journalism school of the media group Unidad Editorial and the University Rey Juan Carlos of Madrid. I caught up  via e-mail with two people involved with the program: Marcos García Rey, investigative reporter and ICIJ member who will coordinate the master’s,  and Mar Cabra, a module coordinator in charge of the data journalism aspect.

Here are the highlights from our Q&A, which is include below:

  • Data courses will teach students how to think about the paper trail, how to obtain data, and how to use statistics to draw basic conclusions
  • Data courses will include basic analysis tools like Excel, SQL and web scraping
  • Second semester will touch on how to choose the correct visualization to convey a story
  • Reporting classes will be more traditional in nature, though students will be posting to the web from day 1
  • They drew inspiration from IRE’s Eductaor’s Center, Columbia’s investigative program and personal experiences
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A Data Visualization of U.S. Newspaper History

A few weeks ago, I shared a link to the coolest way to visually see what’s news around the world. Now, here comes an interesting way to see what was news. Well, rather, who was covering the news and when in the U.S. It’s a data visualization of newspapers past. And it’s pretty cool, if somewhat depressing.

The Rural West Initiative at Standford University created the map by plotting the U.S. Library of Congress catalog of newspapers (140,000 publications??) over time and space. These are the results (click to see the real maps).

Through the sidebar content as you scroll through the timeline, you get a feel for the different “eras” of newspapering, from the colonies to the frontier to yellow journalism and merger mania. It’s actually somewhat encouraging to read about the journalism crises of decades/centuries past. Being a journalist these days can see like you’re in the worst of times, but really, newspapers and journalism is just constantly evolving, and as you see in the map, it ebbs and it flows.

If nothing else, you’ll find interesting bits of local history when you zoom in and discover who was covering your town. You might be surprised how many newspapers small cities used to support.

(Found via Freakonomics blog.)

Five ways to visualize your personal data

We talk about data visualization in the journalistic context, but there are uses in our personal lives too. As we continue to document more and more of our personal data online, new tools are at our dispense to make sense of it all. It might seem pointless, but you’d be surprised at what you can learn about yourself, your work habits, and general life routines by seeing your own data in a whole new light. These are a few tools I’ve recently discovered that have helped me cut out a few inefficiencies in my own life through data visualization.

1. Graph my Inbox

Ever wished you could find out a certain statistic about your email usage? If you use Gmail, you’re in luck thanks to the late Bill Zeller, a Ph. D. Candidate at Princeton University. He created a Chrome extension for your Gmail — called Graph Your Inbox — that allows you to search for any keyword, email address or combination of the two to see a visual display of how that query plays out in your inbox. The resulting graphics include a line graph and bar chart, of which you can break down to see emails relative to that particular result.

2. Where Do You Go

Where do you go? An app for visualizing Twitter checkins.

If you use FourSquare to check into locations, you can connect to Where Do You Go to see your checkins on a heat map. You can zoom out to see the checkins based on different cities you’ve visited. The app features different color schemes and has a few sharing options. Another way to visualize your FourSquare checkins is by visiting your foursquare feeds page. Copy the KML link and copy it to your clipboard and paste it into Google Maps.

3. Tweet Stats

This one is an oldie but a goodie that I frequently check to see how my Twitter habits have changed. Tweet Stats allows you to put in your username (no account required), and after a few minutes of processing, see stats about your tweets per month, tweet density by hour, aggregate daily tweets, aggregate hourly tweets, replies, retweets and interface used — all in a colorful, chart-based display.

4. Your personal Google search history

If you have enabled Google web history to be stored in your browser, you can learn tons about yourself by visualizing the types of searches you do at any point in time. For a detailed breakdown, you can filter the searches you’ve conducted by type: web, images, video, news, products, maps, books, or blogs. If you want to see your personal trends over time, you can use the “trends” tool to filter by time period to see your top queries, top sites, top clicks, monthly search activity, daily search activity, and hourly search activity.

5. Your personal finances

If you are comfortable with handing over your banking credentials to financial tool Mint, you can do a lot more than just plan budgets. With Mint’s “trends” tools, you can see charts of how much money you spend in various categories (dining, health and fitness, transportation, etc.). You can also break it down to compare your spending over certain spans of time or how your spending compares to the average spender in a different city or state.