Data should be illuminative, not off-putting. At the Chicago Tribune News Applications team, we try to help that light shine a little brighter.
Accomplishing that means taking advantage of the online medium to tell stories. The building blocks we use are data, which we gather and assemble in a visually meaningful way.
Sometimes that involves creating informative graphics, like the series of maps that team members Alex Bordens and Andy Boyle built to accompany reporter Bob Secter’s recent story about Chicago’s Divvy bike-sharing program.
Other times it means building tools to present information in the most logical, cohesive fashion. For reporter Annie Sweeney’s data-driven, location-based gunrunning story, team members David Eads and Ryan Nagle created an interactive timeline. For reporter Kevin Pang’s longform profile of chef Curtis Duffy, team members Chris Courtney, Jennifer Lindner, David Eads and Alex Bordens integrated photo, video and audio assets into a package that is compelling in both form and content.
As project manager, I largely spend my time scheduling the team’s workload in what often feels like a giant game of Tetris: Make all these moving pieces -- people, projects, tasks, time -- fit into precisely the right spot at the right time.
Ultimately, those moving pieces combine to become the useful, user-friendly web applications the News Apps team exists to build. You can find selections of our work at chicagotribune.com/news/data.
When it works, all of the effort is invisible, all the benefits intuitive. Hopefully readers find the data not daunting, but informative ... and the experience surprisingly enjoyable.
-- Kaitlen ExumCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun