Data Visualization Under Deadline

A workshop for the The Florida Times-Union newsroom

Nov. 28-29, 2012

Jacksonville, FL

Contact: Carl V. Lewis (@carlvlewis)



Workshop Schedule:

Tuesday Nov. 28

On Tuesday, we'll look at the principles, technicalities, best practices and tools of data-driven storytelling.

  1. Introduction to Data Journalism - 1:00-1:50 p.m.

This session will introduce the basic concepts and abstract principles of the nascent field of data journalism. We'll answer questions such as:

We'll also critique a few classic examples of data visualization produced by news organizations, paying particular attention to their design choices, underlying technologies and data sources.

2.  Mining for Public Data - 2:00-2:50 p.m.

This session will outline the first two steps to any data journalism project: research and retrieval. From accounting for the various factors that may influence your topic, to locating relevant data sources in today's Big Data ecosystem, we'll talk about how to kickstart your data project and assimilate all the necessary ingredients to begin the process of visualization. Some basic topics we'll touch on include:

3. Analyzing and Refining Your Datasets - 3:00-3:50 p.m.

In this session, we'll cover how to analyze raw datasets, clean messy data and distill complex data structures into a format in which they can be more easily visualized. We'll go over:

4. From Data to Visualization - 4:00 - 4:50 p.m.

During our final session Tuesday, we'll preview the multitude of free, open-source methods for visualizing public data. We'll touch on:

Wednesday, Nov. 29 

On Wednesday, we'll put the previous day's data journalism concepts and technical lessons into action by creating a number of different real-world visualizations based upon Florida and Georgia public data.

  1. Building a Web app  - 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Before we can bring our data journalism project to life, we'll need to have somewhere to store our project on the Web for testing and/or hosting. During this session, we'll FTP into server space where we'll have a place to test our web apps and visualizations for the time being (I'll also show you how to get your own server space for later). We'll briefly look at:

II.        Maps  - 10:00-10:50 a.m.

We'll dig deep into the best-practices for creating interactive maps and other cartographic projections. A few of the feats we'll accomplish:

III.        Charts - 11:00-11:50 a.m.

Interactive charts are one of the simplest and most effective ways to bring numeric data to life, but they should be treated with care. During this session, we'll cover:

IV.        Programming and Beyond - 1:00-2:00 p.m.

With the advent of JavaScript, HTML5 and jQuery, the possibilities for developing unique, immersive data visualizations have exploded. In this final session, we'll take a look at a number of useful JavaScript libraries created specifically for data journalism projects. Some of the things we'll look at include:

*Actual session times will likely run shorter depending on participants’ existing skill sets.