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The Story-telling Power of Maps

I continue to be amazed by the story-telling power of maps. This New York Times interactive map of recent fighter jet and drone strikes in northern Iraq makes me wonder how the use of visualized data used by news media in the form of maps would have changed the way people understood, in real-time, previous wars and conflicts. Yes, social media is changing the face of journalism, but so is data-driven journalism and visualized data of this quality. (Not to be confused with the lack of quality found in the vast majority marketing-oriented infographics.)

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Robin Williams, RIP

Six years ago, I wrote a blog post about “Why I’m Mourning Michael Jackson’s Death” in which I said this:

“I think we all get crazy in our obsession with the deaths of someone like Michael Jackson because he was there, singing in the background, when we experienced so many things we hold dear. The music is still there. The memories are still there. But if Michael Jackson can die, does that mean a part of us dies with him? I think that’s what we mourn.

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The NYT’s Chronicle: A Timeline of the Usage of Words & Phrases


(Above: According to Chronicle, the word “Rex” peaked a century ago. Oh well.)


The New York Times has opened to the public a graphing tool called Chronicle, an N-gram viewer that generates a timeline chart of the usage of a word or phrase appearing in the New York Times during the past 162 years.

The tool is very similar to Google’s Ngram Viewer a graphing tool that generates a timeline of words or phrases appearing in books scanned into the database of Google Books.

Alexis Lloyd, Chronicle’s creator, explains it in this blog post.

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How John Seigenthaler Changed Wikipedia

John Seigenthaler, the legendary editor of Nashville’s daily newspaper, The Tennessean, died yesterday (Friday, July 11, 2014) in his Nashville home. In addition to recounting his remarkable career in journalism and public service, an event nine years ago that’s now referred to by early contributors to Wikipedia as “the Wikipedia Seigenthaler incident” earned a paragraph in Mr. Seigenthaler’s New York Time’s obituary.

As a Nashvillian and admirer of Mr. Seigenthaler for decades, I was angered in 2005 by that thoughtless and vulgar prank that became one of the most controversial episodes in the early history of the online user-contributed encyclopedia. In hindsight, the prank and following events led to much needed changes by those who created and fostered the early development of Wikipedia.
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