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.
For years, I’ve been fascinated with the ways in which one can tell stories with maps using simple tools Google Maps provides. (Since my first attempt at doing it, the tools have become incredibly more sophisticated).
On the website for the public radio show, This American Life, I just ran across a map-as-feature that I can’t recall seeing on another news site. It could be on lots of them, I just don’t recall ever having seen it. And it could have been on This American Life’s website for years, but I just saw it for the first time today. This American Life calls the feature a Story Globe (reminds me a bit of a “Tag Cloud”). It’s simply an interface of the story archive displayed by location using Google Maps.
All week, anyone who follows the news has been carpet-bombed with punditry informing them that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat was because he supported immigration reform. Yet now, polls on both the right and left are revealing that immigration reform was far down on the list of issues that influenced the election’s outcome. Reporting on a poll conducted by Americans for a Conservative Direction, Politico says, “Only 22 percent of Virginia residents who voted for Cantor’s opponent, Dave Brat, cited immigration as the primary reason for their vote. About 77 percent cited other factors, such as the Republican leader’s focus on national politics instead of local issues.” (Tip O’Niell was, is, and will always be correct.)
I doubt, however, that such polls will change the narrative related to why Cantor lost. That the hubris and national aspirations of Cantor were the likely causes of his defeat, don’t fit nicely into a bigger narrative that works for pundits and analysts. Those are too nuanced and local…and personal, and don’t fit nicely into a national debate over one issue.
I really want to love this epic interactive chart on NYTimes.com as much as I’ve loved previous ones.
It certainly succeeds in what it set out to do: present data in a visual form that comes as close as possible to demonstrating the unequal distribution of economic impact during the period in time popularly called, “the Great Recession.” I want to love it because it is so rooted in principles I appreciate as a reader: the use of devices such as “sparklines” that enable a vast array of datapoints to be displayed together, in one cohesive, easily comprehensible block.
It makes me happy when I see a photo like the one above from the White House Tumblr account.
I mean, what’s not to love about the President of the United States giving some Little Leaguers a memory of a lifetime?
However, I know lots of people — including several of my friends — can’t stand baseball. Even a wonderful photo like this isn’t going to make them feel any different about their negative opinions on baseball.