Ever write a story about a bunch of folks doing something, and it seems like you — and the reader — need a scorecard to keep everyone straight? Sometimes scorecards or diagrams aren’t such a bad idea. Say you’re a cops or courts reporter and you’re trying to explain to people the inner workings of a drug cartel.
Three years ago I quit my job at a mid-sized metro daily newspaper to be part of a startup online news operation. And ever since then I’ve had people coming up to me, emailing me, calling me, asking me about the startup news site they dream of launching.
There once was a time when reporters dealt with words and someone else dealt with the numbers and pictures. But not anymore. There are plenty of free, easy tools now to get any journalist, regardless of their word-centricity, started on data visualization all by themselves.
You’ve pulled a 14-hour shift on the desk. You’re dog-tired. But as you walk out of the newspaper office, you know that thousands of people will pick up the paper from their lawns tomorrow morning and see your story. Fast-forward to our brave new online world.