What could news look like? Cool visual tools

A picture is worth 10,000 words… especially if you can play with it! This week I’m in Los Angeles, where I’ll be leading a group presentation on online interactive and visual tools that can make news, stories, and context more vivid and compelling than ever. Also presenting are:

  • Mark S. Luckie, the multimedia journalist behind the killer blog 10000words.net. He’s also associate producer for EW.com/Entertainment Weekly and former online producer for the Los Angeles Times and Contra Costa Times.
  • Don Wittekind, assistant professor in the visual communication sequence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Our session is part of American Tapestry: Covering a Changing America” — an event at the Knight Digital Media Center for the leaders of the News21 project. The participants are mostly journalism educators who use this project to give new journalists multimedia experience. Our goal in this session is to show them cutting-edge and unusual tools to spark their — and their students’ — imaginations.

Here’s what we’ll cover…
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Many Eyes: Turning data into pictures

Data is a key part of many stories. IBM’s Many Eyes is a free online library of tools that give you options for visually exploring all kinds of data — even for analyzing text documents. It also lets you share and embed your visualizations.

You can upload your dataset to Many Eyes and apply various visualization types to that data — kind of like using filters on images in Photoshop. You can customize your display.

Many Eyes is a useful tool not just for publishing information, but also for analyzing information to see what the story might be, or where the anomalies are.

Here’s an interactive visualization I just created:

Earlier on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits I wrote about how you can use some Many Eyes tools like word tree for document analysis.

Many Eyes meet the New York Times: On Oct. 27 NYTimes.com launched its Visualization Lab, where anyone can create and share visual representations of selected datasets and information used by Times reporters.

Many Eyes is just one of the projects from IBM’s Visual Communication Lab.