Earn a Graduate Degree and Write a Thesis: Check

Last week, check marks sprouted next to two items on my bucket list: earn a graduate degree and complete an individual thesis. Before embarking on both journeys, I knew I loved to research and write. I felt like my mind, fascinated by such topics as journalism, astronomy, neuroscience, and colonial-era U.S. history, embodied the aphorismContinue reading “Earn a Graduate Degree and Write a Thesis: Check”

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Data Storytelling: A Definition?

Data storytelling and storytelling with data: is there a difference? A fellow conference attendee posed this question to me during last month’s Tapestry Conference in Annapolis. After thinking for a moment, I responded that for me, the difference lay in the process. I envision data storytelling as when you’re looking at data and want toContinue reading “Data Storytelling: A Definition?”

Data Storytelling in Novel Form

If information schools had a first book program, I’ve found their next selection: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. The novel includes something for all information professionals: dusty books, Google’s book scanner, typefaces, time series visualizations, Ruby, dial-up Internet, Hadoop, Turkers, and an epic quest. Upon completing my own epic semester of coding, event planning, and thesisContinue reading “Data Storytelling in Novel Form”

The Value of Social Network Sites

I became a curmudgeon way before my time. For about five years, I rode the social media skepticism wagon. I had Facebook and Twitter accounts but used them sparsely. My concern stemmed from the privacy implications of posting so much information about ourselves online. I also felt web-mediated communication took people away from lively, meanderingContinue reading “The Value of Social Network Sites”

Summer Plans: Researching Online Freedom of Expression

Though my email address ends with @umich.edu, all correspondence flows through a Gmail inbox. My appointments are on a Google Calendar, and my fellow students and I routinely use Google Docs to keep track of group project information. The university and Google partnered in October, 2011. I like Google products. Gmail is the best emailContinue reading “Summer Plans: Researching Online Freedom of Expression”

Telling Data Stories at Tapestry

What do journalists, surgery center developers, professors, small business owners, and researchers share in common? All take in a lot of data and must translate and present that information to others in a compelling manner. Also, all of them attended Tapestry, the inaugural conference on data storytelling. The event offered a valuable opportunity to connectContinue reading “Telling Data Stories at Tapestry”

Diving into Data: How to Jumpstart Data Analysis in Media Organizations

Take dozens of smart people, given them a ton of information, and demand they make sense out of it under deadline pressure. Journalists know this as life in a newsroom, and they see great work emerge from such an environment every day. The same concept works for service in the age of data, as IContinue reading “Diving into Data: How to Jumpstart Data Analysis in Media Organizations”

Let Me Help: Use Data to Connect with Readers

Journalism connects people with information, and data storytelling connects narratives to individuals. The former is what kept me a newspaper subscriber for three years, something I explore in this post  on “lock-in” and resistance to adapt to new technologies. The latter is illustrated in examples such as the Washington Post’s Fiscal Cliff calculator and the siteContinue reading “Let Me Help: Use Data to Connect with Readers”

Policy Provides Context to Understand Data

How many rewards cards hang on your keychain? How many website accounts do you maintain? How much information do you share with organizations? Type your name into Spokeo and see what comes up. Chances are, it’s pretty accurate. Many places collect personal information; that’s nothing new. But combine the ability to store unlimited amounts of data,Continue reading “Policy Provides Context to Understand Data”