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