Data Roundup 10-04-2017: A collection of wonderful things on the web last week

As a compulsive newsletter subscriber, I often found my email inbox flooded with weekly digests, roundups and summaries. Most of them are news/media related, and recently, I seem to be only reading the ones that relate to data stories and visualizations.

So naturally, I thought I’d create one of my own. Every week I clip, save and bookmark tons of cool things I find on the web. Everything from interesting open datasets to interactive D3 charts end up in one Evernote notebook for me to browse through later. Since I save them anyways, I thought I might try posting the occasional roundup here on my blog (no newsletter as of now…I’m not that dedicated to the idea yet).

So here’s what caught my eye the week of April 3. In typical newsletter fashion, I’ll include a bunch of links for you to click on, save for later and then never return to again (it’s ok, we all do it).

Fake news and bots bots bots

As a fairly recent fascination in the media, there never seems to be a shortage of interesting pieces and apps around fake news and political bots.

Buzzfeed churned out another news headline quiz. Fake news quizzes have become more popular so it’s not necessarily a revolutionary idea, but its always a good way to test your own knowledge.

Someone made a game which puts the user in the role of a fake news creator. The maker of the game wanted to place people in the position of someone who could profit from producing fake news online. It’s an innovative way to explain the fake news problem, and can hopefully lead to a better understanding of how to recognize a fake news story by its motivation.

Jonathan Albright, professor and researcher of news, wrote a fantastic analysis on political bots. I liked the combination of data viz styles in particular. Good use of “treebar” charts.

And Craig Silverman, the Fake News Wiz over at Buzzfeed, was at it again with his latest fascinating investigation: “One of the Biggest Fake News Networks Doesn’t Do Political Hoaxes”.

Score for interactives

There’s a lot of debate in the data viz community concerning interactive charts and their usefulness. But last week I stumbled on a few notable interactives which seemed to fit the category for using interactivity well.

NPR put out a nice graph showing the American work day across multiple sectors. The user can compare different jobs or sectors to see who is working when throughout the day.

I also stumbled upon this beautifully simple web app which shows the emotional content of around 900 thousand tweets per day (the limit supplied by Twitter’s gardenhose). It’s called We Feel … and uses charts to show the emotional content of the tweets. Today most people are feeling joy.

Shakespeare lovers will enjoy this Tableau viz of the amount of lines spoken by each character. It takes a minute to learn how to read, but well worth a look.

But interactivity doesn’t always win. Mapbrief posted a convincing argument against interactive maps this week, as briefly summed up in this quote:

If a user is only going to spend 10-15 seconds with your map without interacting, why spend two weeks wrestling with your Javascript?  And the great thing is the focus a static map brings–a single view, a single story: don’t bury the lede.

Opportunities and good reads

The United Nations Development Group is hosting a data viz contest sponsored by Tableau. The viz should highlight sustainable development indicators and must be submitted by April 30.

The Times of London is hiring a data journalist for its investigations unit.

Lena Groeger from ProPublica wrote a great piece on how design functions within data journalism. And if you missed the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, journalism.co.uk posted a nice roundup to some sessions on collaboration within data journalism.


That’s all from last week. I’m aiming to keep this Roundup going on Mondays, since it’s usually the day I feel most motivated. If you’d like to catch the next Data Roundup (better name coming I promise) then click the Follow button in the sidebar to get an email notification or follow me on Twitter.

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