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Posts Tagged ‘charts’

Beyond the Pie Chart: New Tool for Creating Data Visualizations

raw logoFree things are good, and free things to make your job easier are even better. Density Design, a lab of the design department of the Politecnico di Milano, has released RAW, an open sourced web tool for visualizing any data you need for a story.

It’s pretty simple, although it’s not exactly for rookies (hat tip to Gigaom’s Derrick Harris for having better luck with his football diagrams!). But after refreshing my memory with their video tutorial, I was able to play around with one of their sample data sets. It’s meant to be a ‘sketching tool,’ and the results have a low-budget look, but they’re polished enough to use on any blog.

Once you plug in your data set, RAW prompts you through the next steps and you can export the final version as a vector, JSON, or PNG file an post it away. The also focus on layouts that you can’t easily make or find elsewhere — in fact, in their FAQ, they direct you here in case you really, really need a pie chart. It’s open source, so if you’re able you can go wild. And they don’t store your data, so you don’t have to worry if  you’re working with something sensitive.

All in all, it’s worth a peek and anyone who has been longing for a dendrogram of your local football league’s data — now is your time. Be patient though; it was tested in Google Chrome, and it works with some minor issues in Firefox and Safari. Let us, and them know what you think.

Do you have any other good data visualization web tools?

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Make Charts, Not a Mess: Quartz Open-Sources Chartbuilder

Today, Quartz open-sourced the code for their in-house application Chartbuilder on Github, so we can all make charts worthy of our reporting, and without driving the graphics editor insane. There’s a minor learning curve, but you don’t have to be a graphics whiz to make them.

David Yanofsky, a reporter for Quartz and the creator of the application, writes on Nieman Journalism Lab that everyone benefits: reporters become more independant in working with their own data and it makes life easier for our colleagues over at the graphics desk, who can get bogged down with requests for data visualizations.

The charts are easily customizable to match any newsroom’s standards, they provide ‘immediate visual feedback’ so you don’t have to update and preview to make sure you didn’t mess anything up, and you can work on them offline if you download the source code. Most importantly, it’s simple. Yanofsky writes:

A reporter’s understanding of an image file is exponentially higher than a reporter’s understanding of an iframe embed code snippet. Content management systems’ understanding of an image file is exponentially higher than a CMS’s understanding of an iframe embed.

You can get started right now, and if you are one of those reporters who starts zoning as soon as you hear “source code,” bring it to a developer in the newsroom. They’ll probably thank you.

 

3 Reasons the Updated Google Trends Tool Will Benefit Journalists

This week, Google announced that it is merging its Google Trends and Insights for Search into one Google Trends tool.

From Google’s blog post announcing the move:

Now we are merging Insights for Search into Google Trends, wrapping it all up in a clean new interface to give you a clearer view of what’s on the world’s mind. The new Google Trends now includes features from both products and makes it easier and more intuitive to dig into the data.

Both Google Trends and Insights for Search have been useful tools in the industry for years, offering journalists a way to see popular search terms and compare keywords, respectively.

While each tool has separate and distinct functions, there are benefits to packaging them into one super tool. Here are three reasons journalists will benefit from this update:

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Who’s Tweeting About Your Beat? TweetCharts Tells You

There’s a new tool for local reporters and editors, or those on specific topic or business-related beats, to figure out who the top tweeters are about their beats. Thankfully, you won’t need to hire a social media analyst to track this information down. It’s free and as easy* as crafting a phrase or hashtag you want to know about.

TweetCharts, a new site from Hubspot, does the data crunching for you. Just plug in your phrase or hashtag. It searches the past week’s tweets, and then, pops out lots of pretty charts to show your bosses you’re not just wasting your time tracking or participating in the Twitter conversation. The site explains at a glance who’s talking about the topic and generally, what they’re linking to or how engaged they are in the words you’re looking at.


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Once Upon A Datum: How To Create Visual Interactives In News Time

BOSTON — This afternoon at the Online News Association conference, Associated Press interactives producer Michelle Minkoff and WNYC’s data news director John Keefe held a hands-on, learn-by-doing session about creating quick data visualizations on a newsroom deadline.

Using free, open source tools and data sets, the barrier to entry for creating usable visualizations is lower than ever.

Michelle showed the audience how to make an interactive chart that graphs crime data using Google Chart Tools. She posted a full tutorial on her website and the downloadable source code for the visualization. Here are the key links you need to build a chart yourself:

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