Some of you have asked me to go over one more time, in writing, what components are due when for the final project.

  • The final project is 30% of your final grade.
  • The final project includes a text story, interactive visualization using techniques we’ve learned in class, a memo explaining the choices behind the final project and an oral presentation discussing your work.
  • On Thurs., Aug. 21, I am expecting you to have work you are happy with turned in as a rough draft for both the text and visual components of your story, based on what we’ve discussed in individual meetings. The memos explaining your work are NOT due at this point. I am not expecting anyone to have edited the story by this point.
  • By the last class, Wed. Aug. 27, you will have received edits from me by Aug. 23 (Sat). Those should be implemented, your entire project should be uploaded to the CMS, and have gone through a final review edit (I believe with a writing professor, but possibly me again, I’ll clarify that as soon as I can). These projects will be uploaded into the normal system, but you will have to check a special category for our class, so that all of this class’ stories show up by clicking on one tab on the website. By final presentations, these stories should all be live and final on the site. By 6pm on the 27th, I will expect to have a copy of your memo detailing your work in my email, and you will present your work — that presentation is graded as well. Other faculty will be attending the presentations, and dinner has been ordered — we’ll make a farewell evening of it. After your presentation, be prepared for me or your classmates to follow up with questions.
  • Also, on Wed., Aug. 27 (our last class), our second critique of a professional data visualization or story is due.
  • The grading breakdown for the project is as follows:
    • Quality of visuals (20%)
      Are your visuals easy to understand? Are they interesting and enlightening? The visuals should be professional and polished.
    • News value (20%)
      Is your story relevant to your beat? Is it an original story idea? This is also where you will score points on good reporting and writing that complement and explain the visuals.
    • Text story (20%)
      Storytelling using words, that make good use of the data you have found, and analyzing it using techniques you learned in class to back up your story. Should have strong narrative throughout the piece, and make use of at least 2 human sources.
    • Appropriate use of visuals (15%)
      Is it a story that is strengthened by your choice of visuals? Did you choose the right visuals to tell the story?
    • Design (10%)
      Does your story have appropriate fonts, colors, alignment and hierarchy? Is there a clear sense of order on the page?
    • Presentation (10%)
      On the last day of class, you will be expected to give a 5-10 minute presentation to the rest of the class on why you chose your topic, how you found/cleaned your data, how you turned it into a story and why you made the visual storytelling decisions that you did. Let the memo you need to write (details below) serve as a guide. Presentation should show what you learned, show the reasoning behind your decisions, and be clear enough that others can learn from the lessons you learned.
    • Memo (5%)

      A 1-3 page memo detailing why you did the following:

      1. Picked the story you did. What is interesting or newsworthy about it?

      2. Which columns of data did you use for the text components? Which for the interactive? Why

      3. What human sources did you use? What category do they fall into (expert, person on the street, etc?) Why did you pick that category and that specific person? Is there another “side” of the story you would have liked to cover, or made sure to pay particular attention to?

      4. What techniques did you use for your analysis? Sorting/filtering/grouping? What questions did your data help you to answer? Did those answers surprise you?

      5. What story form did you use for the visual components of your story? What made you decide to use that type of chart or visualization?

      6. What colors did you use in your visualization? Do they reflect sequential, diverging or categorical data? Why did you choose those types of colors?

      7. Defend choices for your axes, if you have any charts. What are the minimum and maximum numbers on your scale? Do you feel they paint a complete picture of the story? Are your axes labeled? If so, what choices are behind those names? If not, why aren’t they labeled?

      8. What shapes did you use to mark different points in your visualization (bars, lines, map markers, etc.? Why?

      9. What other customization did you add to your interactive component? What were your decisions behind making those choices?

      10. What decisions did you make about integrating the text and visual components of your story? Why?

      11. What do you hope a user gains by reading/interacting with your story? What should he/she learn?

      12. What have you learned, from the content and the experience of putting this together, that you hope to apply to your future work?