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On the importance of localism

less than 1 minute read , Posted on April 02, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

A decade before the rise of the Internet set in motion the disruption of legacy news business models, Kaniss foresaw the growing need for local and regional news to unite increasingly fragmented, suburbanized communities.

Critique, “French wine map shows the best vintage, from 1978 to 2011”

4 minute read , Posted on April 01, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

It’s nearing the end of the week, so what better way to relax than with a good bottle of wine and some leisure reading? Problem is, I’m not very skilled at buying wine that tastes any good. I always end up paying more for the bitter, expensive stuff. Fortunately,  there’s a pretty cool news app for that. The Telegraph UK’s recent interactive app on French wine ratings allows users to browse through the years to see...

Critique, “Why is Her Paycheck Smaller?”

4 minute read , Posted on April 01, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

For my final critique, I decided to look at a more straightforward and well-known visualization on gender wage gaps created by The New York Times back in 2010. The “Why is Her Paycheck Smaller” visualization shows how simple, mostly static scatter plots can sometimes be the most efficient and informative way to tell a story. Functionality-wise, the visualization is not terribly impressive. Not only does it run on clunky, often-inoperable Flash, but it has little...

Should data viz be a specialty or a commodity skill in the newsroom?

8 minute read , Posted on April 01, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

An interesting question came up at last Wednesday’s Doing Data Journalism (#doingdataj) panel hosted by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism here at Columbia’s J-School: Should there be data specialists in the newsroom, or can everyone be a data journalist? For New York Times interactive editor Aron Pilholfer, who participated in the panel, the question is not so much should everyone do data as will everyone do data. And for Pilholfer, the answer to that question clearly...

Aron Pilholfer at #doingdataj

less than 1 minute read , Posted on April 01, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Totally agree, but harbor the lurking suspicion that many traditional readers still like to read pretty narratives and don’t care as much if the facts back them up. In other words, it’s an audience problem just as much as it is an editorial one.

Apple App Store’s “Walled Garden” Overrun With Weeds

64 minute read , Posted on March 31, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

In 1894, advertisers claimed snake oil could cure “all aches and pains.” But by the time you realized it didn’t, it was too late. Your money was gone. It’s a predicament similar to the one facing thousands of customers at Apple’s iTunes App Store, where unscrupulous app developers often lure unsuspecting consumers into buying misleading, knockoff and even downright scam apps for their iPhones and iPads. To make matters worse, Apple offers no guaranteed refund...

Critique: The new (and improved) Macon.com

9 minute read , Posted on March 07, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Today I’d like to critique the recent redesign of my former newspaper’s website, The Telegraph/Macon.com, in Macon, Ga. For years we’d suffered with a cluttered, portal-styled homepage that devoted more screen real estate to aggregated national news and real estate widgets than it did to original, local content (see a small snippet of old site here). The share buttons were completely out of date, the commenting system was clunky and the overall feel of the...

INTERACTIVE: Super Tuesday GOP presidential primary results

less than 1 minute read , Posted on March 07, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

The latest delegate counts show that Mitt Romney nearly doubled his delegate total after Super Tuesday’s primary elections. Click on the table to see how the delegates from Tuesday’s vote broke down. Source: AP.

Critique: Michigan GOP Primary Visualization, via HuffPo

5 minute read , Posted on February 29, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

For a lot of self-indulgent reasons, I secretly love The Huffington Post. But well-designed visualizations and interactive interfaces have never been the news organization’s strong suit. While their live coverage of Tuesday night’s GOP primary in Michigan had all the flavor of a classic HuffPo report – updates faster than you can send a Tweet, snarky comments, and dramatic headlines – what stood out to me was how they integrated real-time election results into a...

INTERACTIVE: 2012 Michigan GOP primary results by county

1 minute read , Posted on February 28, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

This map displays the results from Tuesday night’s Michigan GOP primary by county. The darker shade blue represents a higher percentage of voters for Mitt Romney, who narrowly won the race despite Michigan being his native state. Click on each county to see a breakdown of how Michigan Republicans cast their ballots. SOURCE: Michigan Dept. of State, Feb. 28, 2011, 11:34 E.S.T.

Visualization/design critique: Guardian.co.uk

5 minute read , Posted on February 22, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

So I’ll admit it: I’ve always kind of had a design crush on the Guardian’s website, and I may or may not have tried to emulate it in various other news websites I’ve developed. What I love most about the Guardian’s design is simply its proprietary typeface. That slightly “Georgia” looking serif with the curbed nodules and cut-off “G’s” instantly alerts the user that they’re interacting with the Guardian brand. Another strong aspect of the...