Thursday, July 23, 2009

Graphics and the NYT

So I'm looking at a slideshow of graphics at The New York Times, which is kinda neat in a dweeby sort of way (I'm a journalism prof and a PhDweeb), and it occurs to me that this tells us something and what people know, or at least how people learn from the news.

You can see a list of slides about visualizing data here. The NYTimes is halfway down the list.

What's kinda interesting is the source material for Times graphic charts from 2000-2009. If not for the feds, I'm not sure what they'd put in charts. Census Bureau data was used for 852 charts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics used for 844. The World Bank is a distant third with 118. I admit that kinda surprised me.

The graphic to the upper right is also from the slideshow and is designed to, in a glance or three, show us where we spend our money (according to, obviously, fed data). You really need to check out the slideshow to see it well. The point is -- in many ways -- we learn better visually than raw tables and text. Yeah yeah, pictures and thousand words, but it's true, especially when dealing with complex data.

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