The Art of Transforming Data into Great Stories

What happened this (read: last) week in the world of data visualization? This category provides you with remarkable visualizations – they can be remarkably beautiful, remarkably interactive or just remarkably interesting. Visualizations differ on so many levels, and so does their content. Let’s take a look at what week #2 brought us.


Christmas time – time for kindness?

Contradicting the harmony of the upcoming holidays, the Italy based online lyrics catalog musixmatch published an analysis of abusive expression in songs. Under the title “Hip hop lyrics are the most profane” they provide insights about the frequency of swear words by music genre.

The visualizations might not be the most fancy ones, nor are they of high societal value. But there are several reasons why this article popped up on our screens: On the one hand it’s a nice example of how companies can use their own data in order to entertain their audience. On the other hand, the authors critically reflect their project’s reliability and also put the outcome in a greater context. In addition Musixmatch is kind enough to refer to an older project about the largest vocabulary in music, in which hip hop artists outshine all the others. Worth a look.

Comparing music genres by the number of swear words used.


The Math of Mass Shootings

Sadly enough we discovered another visualizations with regards to gun shootings. The Washington Post published an article about all mass shootings in the U.S. since 1966. The authors did not rely on plain charts in order to make the data comprehensible but decided to go with an illustration that focuses on the affected individuals – a very interesting and touching approach.

The structure and coloring of the individuals might be confusing at the beginning, since the fatal victims of the events are not displayed in groups, hence the chosen visualizations feel uncommon.
However, the design manages to bring the story closer to the reader because humans form the core of it all. What makes this dataviz also very interesting is that the authors indicate that their dataset might not be complete and provide a visual comparison of other datasets with regards to mass shootings.



All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others

Based on the Pulitzer prize winning portal PolitiFact, the New York Times published a chart about the level of lying of the presidential candidates since 2008. The graph gives an indication on how much of what the candidates say is actually true or a lie.

The visualization by the New York Times is quite simple and comprehensible. The website Data Revelations took the graph and turned it interactive by using the tool Tableau. Their version reveals the exact statistics for each candidate and links directly to the original source. Both worth a look.

Lying politicians

About the author : Eva Lopez (DW)