Great stories #3: Tumblr, pizzas and Missy Higgins

On Twitter, I asked: What’s the best story you’ve read, seen or heard lately – in any format?

This is the third post in an ongoing series where people share great stories.

What we’ve been reading

  • Tim Leslie: This is some of the most accomplished digital storytelling I’ve seen – beautiful stuff.
  • Ben Spraggon: Take a virtual trek through Petra and discover that there’s much more to this ancient city than its most famous monument- Al Khaznah – The Treasury.
  • Lucy Fahey: I’ve been looking at illustrator Simon Prades’ work. His combination of figurative-type illustration and use of abstraction make for really strong visual storytelling.
  • Cristen Tilley: I love this longread about a woman with muscular dystrophy who self-diagnosed a rare genetic mutation, and then did the same thing for a professional athlete she had never met.
  • Colin Gourlay: In We have always been at war with UI, Eevee looks at the recent changes made to Twitter’s UI/UX and tries to explain why the apps/sites we use constantly change through the lens of the product owner’s motivations, how the success of those changes is measured, and whether those measures are fundamentally flawed.
  • Simon Elvery: The stare down between Apple and the FBI about unlocking a dead terrorist’s iPhone has been a difficult story to report this week. Incredibly complex technical issues and the fact that this story touches on so many other areas (privacy, national security, geopolitics, etc) make it both a great story opportunity and a recipe for over simplification and poor reporting. It’s a long read, but Troy Hunt provided an excellent wrapof the situation and exploration of the issues—you should read it.
  • Matt Liddy: The journalistic culture clash in this interview with veteran reporter Robert Caro is visceral, particularly the opening exchange about Chartbeat. But it also has fascinating ruminations on the nature of politics and power.

What we’ve been working on

 

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What you see is not always what you get

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Maps are one of the first formats that come to mind when thinking about ‘interactive’ stories online — but did you know maps often lie?

In this Medium article, Joshua Tauberer sets out why that matters better than I’ve ever seen before…

“Because we don’t all live evenly spaced throughout the world, demographic maps favour populations that live in low density areas. Here’s why that’s meaningful:

“Although racial minorities make up 26% of the U.S. population, they account for just 16% of the space on typical demographic maps of the United States.

“The 50% of the U.S. population in the most dense part of the country lives in just 1% of the nation’s land area. Who actually lives in the 99% of the country we see?”

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We face similar problems here: these kinds of maps of Australia tend to present gross misrepresentations due to the massive land mass that has tiny populations. The Guardian’s Nick Evershed has written about this before, including presenting some possible solutions (some of which we’ve also used).

The key thing to remember here: when it comes to presenting data, there’s often more going on than meets the eye.

Great stories #2: Ben Lyall

What’s the most powerful or compelling story you’ve read/watched/listened to recently?

That’s the question we put to Ben Lyall, a data science student who helped make this visualisation of Australian political donations.

“I found 538’s article on the Flint Michigan water crisis to be a quite compelling read.

“The subject matter and the bureaucracy behind the increasingly stupid decisions and then the cover-up were a compelling story in their own right but I thought the author of the article did a great job of showing the effects on the people of the city and how they forced action to be taken. And bonus points, since it’s fivethirtyeight, it has some visualisations!”

This is the second post in an ongoing series where people share great stories.

What we’ve been reading

What we’ve been working on

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the stories we’ve been working on since late last year…