Lynda Requirement- Edwards
By Kristen Edwards
April 28, 2017
I watched the Lynda tutorial “Data Visualization Storytelling Essentials” because I felt like it fit well into my goal of becoming a TV news journalist. I wanted to know how I could best display data for stories I will work on in the future.
I learned several things through the course. The first, most influential idea was to work with my hands and sketch out my visualization. Because I wanted to do my final project on Trump, this was essential for me to do. There were so many facets of his campaign and his time in office that I could tackle, so I was overwhelmed with the data I had access to. I sat down and thought through a range of topics.
At first, I had a few completely different ideas than what I ended up with. I was thinking about things that would not be the best to visualize and ideas that weren’t related to each other enough. After I wrote down topic ideas, however, I circled the ones that were best related to each other and the ones I thought would be best for data. This pre-planning was the best time I spent on this project. Afterwards, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and it was full steam ahead!
Another important lesson from the course was that my project should have elements of storytelling and interactivity. First, I started thinking about storytelling with my list of topics I wanted to pursue. Do they tell one, cohesive story? Well, no. Not at first. After thinking it through, I realized that the story I could tell was his first 100 days in office. It’s an important milestone that’s constantly mentioned in the media, and Trump himself, so I picked that as my focus. Next, I thought about interactivity. They related the idea to ‘progressive depth’. Essentially, allowing a viewer to go deeper if they want to learn more. Keeping this in mind, I decided to go with a searchable, sortable table. This way, viewers can see the first 25 listings, but if they want to search for a certain item, they could go deeper.
I also learned that the way to attract an audience best is by using data that lends itself to personalization. By choosing Donald Trump as a topic, I thought that this would be of interest to many people! His policy proposals affect so many Americans, so data about him will be of interest (I hope!)
Lastly, the lesson about ‘eye candy’ was my favorite! It talked about making your data pretty without straying from fact or purpose– a tenant of TV news, too. This helped cement the fact that I wanted to do the Knight Lab timeline. I loved it when we were first introduced to it in class, and I felt that was a great tool to visualize the data I was looking at. Since it is the most visually appealing, I put it first to reel in a viewer.
This course really helped me think through the tools I would want to use and how to use them for my final project. With this course in mind, my final project ended up looking like this: http://kristennicoleedwards.com/data-viz/