You are part of a nimble graphics team in a digital newsroom publishing on a CMS eerily similar to WordPress. Your audience is made up of tech-savvy, graphics-loving 25 to 45-year-olds in major U.S. cities. They’re mostly on their phones. It’s Wednesday night and your editor wants to publish a light-hearted story late tonight that includes a graphic element. And she doesn’t mean a stock photo. She wants something branded, something new. It could be a couple bar charts, a simple map, a word cloud, a Storify, or a before-and-after slider image. It’s up to your team and what you think would best complement the story. You have 45 minutes before happy hour.
- Split into four teams
- Choose a light-hearted story (or light-hearted angle) from the week’s news (The Star Wars trailer by the numbers, Postseason baseball and fantasy sports, San Francisco stop-as-yield cycling law, 18th century artifacts in Boston Common, Not enough cooks in the kitchen, etc. etc.)
- Quickly, find and copy the text of a story from a major news outlet. Aim for the 300- to 500-word length. This is just placeholder copy while the reporter and editor gets you final copy.
- Find the data you’ll need for your graphic (some will be provided: Star Wars scripts)
- Choose one tool from the deck of cards (Chartbuilder, Google Maps, Google N-gram viewer, Storify, Raw, JuxtaposeJS, Wordle or TagCrowd alternative, WordCounter)
- Sketch out your idea on paper first.
- Then, build it!
- Publish the plain text and your graphic(s) as a post on the Media Innovation WordPress site.
- Considerations: Will it complement the story? Will it distract? What data do I need?
The top 50 words used in the script for Star Wars: A New Hope
The frequency of “Luke,” “Han” and “Leia” in Google Books since 1800