Recent Posts

Why we built the new and Do mobile app

12 minute read , Posted on July 14, 2013, by Carl V. Lewis After launching the expanded standalone print edition of Do, our weekly arts-and-entertainment section for Savannah Morning News, back in March, we had a feeling the new physical product would soon outgrow its current digital home at We just didn’t know how soon that day would come.

“Newspapers are the new startups”

1 minute read , Posted on July 09, 2013, by Carl V. Lewis

Newspapers are the new startups . . . we’re starting to see a lot of great changes as technologies improve and cultures change.” -John Levitt, Director of Sales and Marketing,

Visualizing 2012 census estimates using CartoDB and Leaflet

17 minute read , Posted on August 06, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

I’ve been tinkering around with some new mapping tools lately, and figured I’d put them to good use by displaying the 2011-2012 population estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The inherently geographical nature of the census makes it a data set just begging to be mapped.

What we can learn about charts from The WSJ Guide to Information Graphics

12 minute read , Posted on July 13, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Although geared primarily toward the production of static graphics for print publications, Dona M. Wong’s The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics (2010) provides a wealth of salient and time-honored tips and guidelines that any student of data visualization would be well-advised to follow. At the heart of Wong’s book is the notion that data integrity trumps all else, and no matter how aesthetically pleasing or visually powerful an information graphic may be, if it doesn’t communicate clear...

Making the case for hover interactions in maps

19 minute read , Posted on July 12, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

In keeping with my recent spate of mapping nerdiness, I decided to take an interactive map I produced last month displaying statewide annual population changes a step further by adding mouseover/hover capabilities. Here’s the hover-y, nicely-colored chloropleth map I came up with. But before I get into the nitty-gritty of how I created the map –– which I’ll explain step-by-step in a later post –– let me exercise a bit of self-indulgence by defending my...

Raw data as oxymoron

1 minute read , Posted on May 21, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

“Raw data is both an oxymoron and a bad idea; to the contrary, data should be cooked with care.”\ - Geoffrey Bowker Bowker was spot on in his comments made last week at Columbia Journalism School. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to make order out of chaos from “raw data,” i.e. unintelligible, inaccurate spreadsheets.

Using data-viz to make a wire story stand out from the pack

13 minute read , Posted on May 06, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

I’ve been interested lately in finding examples of online-only, collaborative, non-profit newsrooms who’ve utilized the power of data visualization techniques to give added value to stories that otherwise wouldn’t necessarily be unique, and in doing so beat out legacy news organizations who published a text narrative alone. Take, for example, this data-rich story and interactive map displaying statewide testing results published by NJSpotlight Friday. While the news that only 8 out of 10 graduating seniors had passed New Jersey’s current...

Overlaying a bubble chart onto a Google map

25 minute read , Posted on May 04, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Others may hate, but I’m a big fan of using bubbles to display data. When implemented correctly (i.e. scaled in terms of area instead of diameter), bubbles can be an aesthetically appealing and concise way to represent the value of data points in an inherently visual format. Bubbles are even more useful when they include interactivity, with events like mouseover and zoom allowing users to drill down and compare similar-sized bubbles more easily than they...

Why calculus matters when it comes to data-driven stories

7 minute read , Posted on April 17, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

A quick refresher from my data visualization professor here at Columbia a couple of weeks ago reminded me why I was forced to spend all those grueling hours calculating standard deviation back in high school.