Category Archives: Homework

Homework Week 2 (Due Sep 18)

You have two assignments: we want you to answer a handful of specific questions using data that Slate published alongside How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown? and we want you to download the CDC’s data on firearm homicides and find something of your own in that data. If you’re smart, you’ll also use the extra week to start thinking about stories you’d like to work on for your team assignments and figuring out what kind of data is available for those stories. Continue reading Homework Week 2 (Due Sep 18)

Homework Week 1

Homework Week 1 (Due Sep 11)

Find two datasets that interest you. You’re looking for raw data, not visualizations of data. For each data set, tell us the following in not more than 100 words:

  • Describe the data — what are we looking at?
  • Explain why it is interesting — who cares?
  • Explain the provenance — who collected this data, when? Where?
  • Provide a link — how can someone get to this data? (be sure to test your URL and make sure it reliably takes you back to the data. Otherwise, find the best URL and give instructions from there.)

Begin a scrapbook on WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest or any blog or aggregation service. If you want to use a specific tag or category on an existing blog, that’s fine, too.

Read Cairo: The Functional Art, Reading part 1: pages 25-31, 36-44, on thinking through a visualization as a tool for the reader; what graphical form best serves the goal? On e-reserve in the Library.

Make sure that Firefox is installed on your computer, with both the Web Developer Toolbar and Firebug plugins.

Email your dataset URLs and scrapbook URL to both professors under the subject “Homework Week 1″.


Welcome to Data-driven Interactive Storytelling, Jour72312, or Data Viz! We’re looking forward to starting the semester and meeting each one of you.

Before our first meeting, please watch the following chapters of Journalism in the Age of Data, a video report on data visualization by Geoff McGhee at

Chapter 2 Data Vis in Journalism Chapter 3 Telling “Data Stories” Chapter 6 Exploring Data

The total running time for these three chapters is 23 minutes.


Take some time to view Geoff McGhee’s Knight Fellowship video report on Data Journalism It’s about 54 minutes, and it’s available in many different formats (for viewing on desktop or mobile). It’s a nice overview of the current discipline.

Additional suggested reading:
+ Introduction to the Data Journalism Handbook
+ Paul Bradshaw’s How to be a data journalist on the Guardian blog
+ Alastair Reid’s post on How to: get started in data journalism

Also, start thinking about what you might want to do for your first project. I know, the course hasn’t even started and you may not have a clue where to start. That’s okay. But if there’s some data that you’re interested in, or you have some ideas that have a basis in data that you want to explore, bring them to the first class.