It’s been fascinating to watch the changes that technology has brought about in journalism. While traditional newspapers might be taking a beating, one could argue that journalism has never been stronger. As more publications move to an online format and more people start getting their news from purely digital sources open access to quality reporting has never been easier.

But journalism’s move to the digital realm has had another consequence that really excites us. Digital publications generate data: data on keywords, headlines, even the number of times a word is mentioned. And where there’s data, there are sure to follow data visualizations.

So sit back, crack open that digital paper and let’s see what the world is talking about.

News Around the World

Our first visualization comes to us from unfiltered.news, an absolutely brilliant interactive visualization that breaks down headlines all over the world and shows you their comparative importance.

News data visualization
Apparently the NCAA championship isn’t as big a deal in Bangladesh.

There are plenty of things we love about this visualization. First and foremost however is the multiple levels of interactivity. With no filters applied you are literally looking at all the headlines and mentions in the news from around the world to get a big picture. When you zoom in on a particular country the news stories important to that place (i.e. the stories that shared the most keywords) begin to expand. Click on a particular topic and all of the stories associated with that topic pop up in the left-hand navigation panel.

But that’s just the beginning. The really cool part happens in the left hand panel. There you can explore and filter the data to find answers to specific questions. What do they think of the Presidential candidates in Poland? Does Indonesia have anything to say about the price of gold? After only a few minutes of exploration we’ve never felt more informed.

Where are people going for the news?

Technology changed the news in other ways as well. What was once the sole province of newspapers has since had to move over and share the space with television, which then had to move over to share the space with the entirety of the Internet.

The interesting thing about these shifts in where people get their news is that it seems to change the younger you get. Just take this visualization from publicreligion.org. The charts below show the percentage of Americans who trust technically comedic shows like “The Daily Show” for their news.

news data visualization
Apparently we like our news to be funny

While this data is from 2014 it does support our idea about how the younger a person is the more willing they are to get their news from less traditional, though perceived as more honest, sources.

Some traditional journalists might consider this the death knell of their industry- do young people care nothing for sound journalistic principles like objectivity, source-checking and following up on leads or do they just want to be entertained?

At VisualCue we like to think more optimistically. We see there isn’t a reason that a news source can’t do both- an entertaining take on the days events that nevertheless is full of sound facts and verifiable sources. One way that news outlets can entertain while also informing? How about using some data visualizations. We’re certainly fans.

Until next time,

The VisualCrew