In Class Exercise: Two Ways to Make a Basic Google Map

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Week 12

In Class:
-Revised schedule (revisited)
-Final Project overview
-Infographic/data visualization

-Read JournalismNext Chap 9 – “Data driven journalism and digitizing your life”

The Following Week (April 20-26):
-Extra-credit quiz on chapters 6, 7, 8, 9 on Thurs, April 24 
-Post 11: Free Post due April 20 27 at 10 p.m.
-Post 12: Video due by April 27 at 10 p.m.

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Introduction to Infographics and Data Visulations

The Basics:

Data visualizations, frequently referred to as information graphics, are a powerful tool that will inform and educate your readers. Often important data-heavy information can bog down a narrative or slow the pacing of a story. That data might be edited out to streamline a story or put into a table for readers to browse. A better solution is to use simple graphics that can be created in minutes and delivered for free using web tools.  These information graphics will compliment and add context to your stories. Graphics can help you highlight  important information from a database in a way much easier to understand than a text-only presentation. – Data Visulations: Basics by Len DeGroot

Examples in the News:

Fewer Helmets, More Deaths (

The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath (

Drone Strike Deaths (

Guide to Jokes in Arrested Development (

How Mariano Rivera Dominates Hitters (

Places to start exploring:

Tableau Public, a free data visualization software, has a nice infomercial that explains the basic process. is great place for exploring, creating, and sharing infographics. And it’s a hub to connect designers with clients.

FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data and visualization.

VisualJournalism – A blog on information graphics and journalism by Gert K. Nielsen.

Data Journalism Handbook - This open-source book is a collaboration of 50 journalists and programmers and offers data journalism case studies from news organizations likeThe New York Times, Financial Times, Guardian, and Chicago Tribune.

Skills for Data Journalism:

Data journalism can be done by one individual or by a team of people. The main tasks can include:

1. Reporting – the ability to obtain data and identify a compelling story within a mass of information.

2. Expertise with data and research – the ability to mine, organize, and clean data.

3. Web development and design – the ability to create a web-based visualization that presents the data in an understandable manner and allows the user to navigate it.

Four Simple Infographics You Can Create:

1. A word cloud is a visual representation for text data that seeks to demonstrate how words are used.

For example: Here is a wordcloud of the most common words used in each presidential inaugural address from Washington to Obama.

You can make your own with

2. Graphs and Charts

USAToday is famous for their simple charts and graphs.

You can make pie, bar, line and other charts using Google docs or a program like Piktochart

See tutorial on how to make a pie, bar, line or area chart using Google Spreadsheets

3. Interactive map mashups have become a standard way to tell a geographic story on the web. A mashup is an application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool.

See 7 innovative online maps and keyword “maps” on

Google Maps allows you to clickable maps and embedded them in your blog.

4. A timeline can be a great way to tell a story that stretches over a long period of time. It can also be used to chronicle the life of a person or institution.

Look at an overview of Mariano Rivera’s career and a unique way of tracking history of Middle East protests

You can use timetoast to create a simple online timeline.

See how Stephen Sterling, a Rowan grad, is using data visualization on the job:
-The rich get richer: Data show N.J.’s upper class growing rapidly while middle class languishes
-Map: Where did Christie dominate in N.J.?
-Interactive map: Hurricane Sandy’s impact on N.J.’s Bayshore region


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Final Project

Post 13: Final Project (worth 200 points) is due at the end of your final exam period

  • Tuesday, May 6 at 4:45 p.m. (for 12:15 p.m. class)
  • Thursday, May 8 at 12:15 p.m. (for the 1:45 p.m. class)

No late work accepted. Whatever is posted by the end of the exam period is what will be graded. If nothing is posted, you will receive a zero for the assignment.

For this post, create a final project – a substantial post – for your blog. It should demonstrate what you have learned over the course of the semester and be the culmination of your blog coverage to date. Your primary goal is to tell a compelling, interactive story. You will write a text article formatted for the web and create an accompanying multimedia feature.

Your article and your multimedia should complement each other, but each should also be able to stand alone on its own. For example, if someone only reads your article or only views your multimedia, she should still able to understand the story.

Use the text for the story basics, information, and links to additional resources. Use your multimedia feature to add vivid color to your story.

Your feature will be assessed on the following:
•    story content
•    original reporting (interviews, events attended, information gathered)
•    quality of the presentation
•    effort
•    completion of each required presentation elements (see below)

Your final project must contain both of the following:

1. A 500-word article formatted for the web (100 points)
•    clear, descriptive headline using key-words (5 points)
•    strong lead (10 points)
•    organized story structure (20 points)
•    2 sources (full names) quoted saying something relevant and interesting (20 points)
•    appropriate hyperlinks to more information (10 points)
•    short paragraphs or subheads to break up large sections of text (5 points)
•    five key word tags (5 points)
•    compelling story topic (25 points)
-2 points for each typo, grammar, spelling, or punctuation error

2. Multimedia component (100 points)
Select a multimedia feature that is the best way conveying information. It must contain original reporting and content, not simply aggregate or reproducing what has been done by others.
•    photo essay (at least 5 photos)
•    photos and audio clip (3+ photos and max 2 min audio clip)
•    audio slide show (18 photos and 1:30 audio)
•    web video (max. 2 min.)
•    live blog an event (must be a live event that you attend in person)
•    interactive map, timeline, or graphic

Multimedia will be graded on the following:

•    quality of media gathered (25 points)
•    editing and presentation (25 points)
•    effort in original reporting (25 points)
•    story content (25 points)

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Week 11

In Class:
-Bring video cameras, cords to connect to computer, and headphones to class
-Student Reporter’s Guide to Smartphone Video
-Basic video tips
-In-class video assignment (2 days)

-Read JournalismNext Chapter 8 – “Telling stories with video”
-Post 10: Live Blog or Photo Event due by April 13 at 10 p.m.

Looking ahead:
-Post 12: Video due April 27 at 10 p.m.

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Basic video tips

1. It’s about ACTION.

2. Web video and TV are not the same.

3. Some basic shooting tips.

4. Good video is 51 percent audio.

5. Tips for video interviews

  • Avoid yes/no questions. “Describe for me.”
  • Try to evoke feeling and emotions
  • The subject should not look into the camera, unless they are talking to the viewers directly, or to another person remotely.
  • Use rule of thirds. Split the frame up into thirds (tic-tac-toe style). Main subjects/elements should be in the thirds.
  • Head and nose room.
  • Have sun or main light coming over your shoulder.
  • Get microphone close or use a lave mic.
  • Be silent while they talk.
  • Interviews are where you get the “why” of your story.

6. Tips for shooting b-roll

  • Variety of shots and angles.
  • Hold shots for 10-15 seconds. It’s easier to deal with a series of short video clips than to split up one long one.
  • The five shot rule is great guide for making sure you get the: “what” (close up on hands), “who” (close up on face), “where” (wide shot), “how” (over the shoulder shot), “what else” (other shot).
  • Steady shots. Use tripod if available.
  • Avoid pans or zooms.
  • Let action move across frame rather than moving with it.
  • Have an opening and closing shot.
  • Use clean editing and transitions.

7. Editing

Some basic editing tips

  • Log your video (soundbites and b-roll)
  • Story boarding
  • Start editing process with audio: interviews, natural sound, music (in that order)
  • Build sequences
  • Rough cut
  • Fine tune audio
  • Fine tune sequences
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Post 12: Video due April 27 at 10 p.m.

Post 12: Video (Worth 75 points)
Can be posted anytime between now and Sunday, April 27 at 10 p.m.

-Cover an event, person, or story suited for video (i.e., action/emotion/opinion)
-Use headline and text for background and context; use video for visuals
-Shorter is better (Maximum length 2 min.)
-Posted to YouTube or Vimeo and embedded on your blog
-No webcam interviews (i.e., sitting and talking to your computer). Get out and shoot something.
-It must be worth watching and sharing with others.

Examples of some past student projects:
Black Student League Fashion Show
Rookie Takes Barrel Racing by Storm
Surfset Fitness

Grading (75 points):

  • Headline, intro text, tags. Is it descriptive? Does it provide needed context and compel reader to click and watch? (5 points)
  • Content is well suited for video (ie action, opinion, emotion, or something audience wants to see and hear. Is it worth watching and sharing with others? (30 points)
  • Shooting technique. Attention to framing, focus, steady, variety of shots, etc. (20 points)
  • Editing and/or presentation (20 points)
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