Dataviz, Week 1, Class 1

NEW 300 / 600 – Professor Dan Pacheco
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

I. Welcome! An Introduction to using data visualization to tell stories.
– Let’s look at a few examples.


II. Class syllabus and expectations.
– Tuesday: instruction
– Thursday: lab
– Assignments due every Monday morning.


III. Class Blog, Spundge, Rebelmouse
Most of the assignments will be filed by embedding widget code into the class blog at


IV. Exercise: Introduce yourself through data!

1. Open this class roster in a web browser, or from your smartphone:

2. Pull out your cell phone and take a “selfie,” or have your neighbor do it for you.

3. Email the file to yourself and download the image to your desktop.

4. Go to and register for an account (note: account registration is frozen now that the class has started). Check your email to get your temporary password, then click the link in the email to log in with that password.

5. After logging in for the first time, click the link at the very top of the screen inviting you to edit your profile and assign a permanent password. Click the Update button to save your new password.

6. Upload the selfie you took to your profile by clicking the Choose File button at the bottom of the page, then Update Profile.

7. Return to your profile by going to Scroll down and right-click your photo. Choose View Image. Copy the URL for the image.

8. Finally, go this Google spreadsheet and paste your image URL into the image field. Fill out the rest of your information. (Note: the Google spreadsheet for this excercise is now frozen.)

9. Return to the  Class Roster page in step 1 ( You will also see information from others in the class as they add theirs. Look at the home page of and you should also see your info there. This is because the output of the link above is embedded into the page.


Congrats! You Participated in a Data Visualization
You not only introduced yourself to the class, but you participated in your very first interactive data-driven visualization. The data is all in a Google spreadsheet, and some free Javascript and JQuery code called Tabletop.js that we will use in a future class pulls all of that data into a web page. Try changing any of your information and you will see that the public web roster updates in real time.


V. Assignments, due before next class:

1. Fill out class survey here (also linked into the class blog):

2. Read this summary from Jaimi Dowdell of IRE on on Excel functions for journalists: We will go over some very basic Excel functions in class, but you are expected to learn more advanced functions needed for your projects on your own.