May 22, 2022

Storyboard’s Behind The Scenes Section Has Great Advice on Visualisation

The acclaimed Storybench website consistently publishes insightful interviews with news organisations in its Behind The Scenes section. The interviews are based around new data-driven and digital stories, visualisations, and projects.

November 2019’s articles have been really impressive, and I couldn’t keep myself from writing about it.

One interview looks at how The New York Times localised and visualised carbon emissions data. In another interview, Vox data journalist Alvin Chang talks about his process and the tools he used to create a 3D-map for a story on segregation. Chang told Storybench he used a Mapbox base map and the Mapbox TS library for his project. He also shared tips for journalism students:

“I think the most important thing is to know that there is a story in the data or have a sense that you can find a story in the data and what that story is doing to be. It’s essentially news judgement but it’s not news judgement in the same way that newsrooms are going to talk about it like ‘Is this a story or not?’ It’s more so ‘How much do you know about these topics? How much context do you have?’ …. you kind of have to dig a little further using the contextual knowledge you have to say ‘I know why this is important’ based on the contextual knowledge that I already have. I think having done a lot of research and reporting is crucial to be able to build something like this first and foremost. And I think from there it’s a matter of designing out the experience you think people want to have and figuring out the technology.”

You might also want to check out Storybench reporter Szu Yu Chen’s interview with award-winning data visualisation designer Nadieh Bremer.

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