Friday, May 25, 2012

Data Visualization and the News

Infographics are a major attribute to many of my blog posts, while they can be aesthetically pleasing, they are also able to relay information quickly without having to sift through data or read the clunky language that could relay some of the statistics, if one had the time to sit and read them all that is.  Some of the elements found in infographics can be as basic as images drawn up in a kindergarten classroom to help children understand a concept better.  Which leads to the question, can this be applied to adults?  The answer is yes, and many up and coming tech companies are using more infographics to help consumers and partners better understand concepts, statistics, and so on.  In a video that can by found on, a website devoted to aggregating infographics, shows how effective they are, the video is of course, made up of infographics. is also a great way to spend an afternoon as the pleasing aesthetics, mixed with statistics and definitions are helpful in understanding today's major conflicts and issues as they have become increasingly complicated.

News organizations today, while trying to affectively become more innovative, are finding new ways to be immersive and interactive. Infographs are not as immersive, but they do change the age old model of graphs and line charts. Even with the use of line charts and graphs, they updated it to convey information easier.

For example, take this infographic on the BP oil spill and the flow of news that followed.  (Click to enlarge.)

This graphic has a lot of numbers that could easily be lost in an article, but through the use of color, sizies, and mediums, the data is made digestable.  Time magazine has been using more infographics as well and many news papers rely on them today.  However, as this following infograph shows, they aren't new, as can be seen from the New York Journal infograph in 1898 which displays an image explaining the explosion behind the U.S.S. Maine.

 and the use of the infograph is not necessarily new, but more and more employers are also starting to receive infographic resumes.  It depends on the industry, but in areas of publics relations, marketing, and graphic design, the infographic resume has become the choice in making oneself stand out in the job market.  Now take Esquire magazine who applied the augmented reality technology to their magazines. In this demo video, we can see how the technology can be applied to an everyday magazine, making it more interactive and this technology can be applied to infographics allowing users and readers to take what information they want.  Which is likely to be the next step for infographics, news media and technology.


  1. If information design and print graphics is an area that interests you, I would encourage you to check out the work being done right on campus in the Software Studies lab of Lev Manovich at Calit2. Whether it is analyzing TIME magazine covers or the layout of pages of science magazines, they are working on new kinds of meta-analysis made possible by media visualization.

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