Data 2: Maps and Google Fusion Tables

The resources we used in class: Week 10.

First, make sure you use the county assigned to you. If you use another county, no points.

Next, go to the resources page (linked above!) to find the link for mailing addresses for all Florida schools. Download the giant spreadsheet. Open in Excel. Find your assigned county and copy all the rows for your county. Don’t miss anything.

Paste all the rows you copied into a new Excel spreadsheet. Read more of this post

Data 1: Use a CSV file and Excel to make a chart

The resources we used in class: Week 8 and Week 9.

Of course, we also needed Yau’s book.

The assignment is to use Excel to create a clear and attractive chart of 365 days of high temperatures from your assigned city for your assigned year (see the Week 8 resources for that link). Requirements are listed below. Your chart will look similar to this one: Read more of this post

Data intro: Some notes and links

The link from class today: < (this was updated Wednesday)

Your mission this week is to research and write the assigned blog post, and work through Yau’s example exercise, pp. 27–38. Use the airport code and year assigned to you (see the link from class).

If you modify and run the Python script successfully, you will have a text file named wunder-data.txt — it will be a plain-text file with exactly 365 lines, as I showed you in class. Bring that file and your MacBook to class next week, and we will use the file in Excel to produce a data graphic showing a year’s worth of high temperatures for your city.

Now, there are two things in Yau’s example that might cause you a little confusion.


The first is his example with images, first_image, and image[0]. There’s a common object in programming called an array. What the BeautifulSoup library does, behind the scenes, is stuff one entire Web page into an ordered collection of all the coded parts of the page. Then you can call out an array of all images (img), or all spans, or all hrefs — those are HTML tags. Once you have called out that array, you can ask for the first image — image[0] — or the second image — image[1] — etc., etc. BeautifulSoup handles most of this for you.

If I had a small array of girls’ names, it might look like this:

girlnames = (“Ann”, “Christina”, “Elizabeth”, “Maria”)

If I needed to write a script to get the fourth name in the array called girlnames, I would use this:


That would bring me the name Maria. When computers count, they start with 0 (not with 1).

In Yau’s example exercise, you’ll be using code similar to that to grab — not a girl’s name from a list of names, but a numeral (a temperature) from a list of spans-that-have-the-class-nobr.

Where You Are When You Use Terminal

Another thing that might be confusing is how to find a file you created while using Python.

By default, you’re at the top of your home directory when you are using Terminal (see an illustration).

If you stay right there and don’t change anything, when you run your Python script and generate a new file, the file will also be there, at the top of your home directory. So to find that new file, just double-click the little house, and you’ll find the file.

Remember that Terminal and Python Are Not the Same

Python has commands that only work in Python — they do not work in Terminal alone.

In Terminal, you can use all kinds of normal Linux commands. One of these is ls (short for “list”). If you type ls and press Return, you’ll see a compact list of everything in the folder (directory) where you are. (See more about that.)

Blog post 4: Introduction to data journalism

After reading the assigned chapters in Yau, your next task is to discover, by yourself, what people in journalism are saying about data skills and programming skills for journalists today. This is NOT about HTML, CSS or Web page design. The topic is data, data journalism, data-driven journalism, and programming. It includes Excel, computer languages such as Python, frameworks such as Ruby, databases and large data sets, etc. Read more of this post

Examples of photo stories

Here are good examples of recent still-photo stories to supplement chapter 11 in Kobré:

Unlike most photo stories, the fourth example listed above was all shot in one day. Photo stories often result from days, weeks, months, or even years of work by the photographer. Many award-winning photo stories are shot in war zones or at the scene of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake.

As Kobré notes, photo stories often center on a trend or issue. “A picture story has a theme” (p. 232).

Not only are the individual pictures in the story about one subject, but they also help to support one central point. (Kobré, 2008, p. 232)

A typical student cannot make a photo story about a war or a natural disaster, but that doesn’t rule out the potential for creating a good photo story. Kobré offers a lot of great examples that students can be inspired by.

Above all, a photo story should engage the audience either (1) by showing familiar things in a new light, in a way people haven’t considered before, or (2) by showing something unusual, events or activities people would not normally have access to.

A failed photo story would be showing something many people will have already seen, and showing it in a way that’s not original or out of the ordinary.

The worst photo story I’ve seen was a student effort about the life of a medical student. The problem was that all the photos showed that one student not really doing much of anything: reading a book, working at her computer, microwaving her dinner. There was no insight in the images, nothing original, nothing to raise any new ideas in anyone’s mind.

Is it impossible to make a good photo story from that theme? Maybe not impossible, but the images would need to be very, very special for that theme to be engaging to an audience.

“The life of a medical student” also fails the test presented by Kobré on page 232: “[T]he pictures don’t add up to a story. They remain the photographer’s observations without a story line or central message.”

Photojournalism materials

Here is the PowerPoint I showed in class about Better Photos for Journalism Stories (shooting tips). Useful for review before you go out to shoot the next time. It’s a PDF, so you can see my talking notes.

Here is the Web page from the week 6 class meeting: Links for Week 6. From that page, you can access the notes about using Adobe Photoshop for photojournalism, and the notes about how to make screen captures, and the link to my favorite screen-grab software (SnapzProX).

Remember, the screen-capture tools are also useful for determining the width and height of an image on a website, such as your own blog.

If you have any questions about photo shooting or photo editing, please post them here, as a reply to this post.

You’re also welcome to share any good links you’ve found that are relevant to photo shooting or photo editing.

Photo 2: A simple photo story

UPDATE (Oct. 14): See added text under “Submitting the assignment,” below.

You have two weeks to complete this assignment. That means (in part) that my expectations are high, and grading will be strict and tough. (MuahaHA!) Seriously, you are expected to use the time given to come up with a good story, an interesting story — a truly visual story — and produce very good photos to tell it. Read more of this post

A good example of “beyond radio” content

Check out this story at NPR and notice how it much it differs from the audio transcript:

9 Powerful Moments in the Day of a Viral Web Editor at BuzzFeed

Photos and radio are great companions!

And please note, everyone: A transcript is NOT the same as a script. Those two words are NOT interchangeable!