Ben Fry published his book Visualizing Data in 2007, before the term ‘data journalism’ had entered the professional vocabulary. Since then, Fry has been developing Processing, an open source “language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts”, and he is a principal at Fathom, a Boston design and software consultancy which has created visualisation projects for National Geographic; Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Catalina George asked him a few questions about his current work and his advice to aspiring data journalists.
Visualisation, a reinvented tool
One of your Fathom projects was a data visualisation for National Geographic’s “What the World Eats”. The graphic part can play a great role to enrich our perception and understanding of reality. But what does the development of visualisation mean for journalism?
I think what’s called “visualisation” has been around a long time for journalism. Otto Neurath was doing this in the 1920s. I think it’s been receiving more attention in recent years because we have the means to more easily distribute interactive works, which is a boon for more sophisticated takes on data. Continue reading