Election Night Maps

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Here are a few different election night maps. More commentary will be added later.

Interactive maps & timelines: worth a thousand words

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This is it. You’re reading the final post for my Online Journalism course.

I may continue to update this blog every so often, when the interactivity or web design strikes me. For the last post, I am highlighting interactive timelines in national and local news.

Timing the Arab Spring protests

Several newspapers and news organizations covered the 2011 Arab Spring protests in the Middle East with interactive timelines. There was of course extensive article, video and television coverage as well.

The difficulty was visually showing many protests, spanning several countries. These protests spread and reverberated off each other. So these timelines worked to clear up locations, dates and people involved.

The Guardian’s Arab Spring interactive timeline is perhaps the most innovative and well-designed. The Guardian staff took a risk by laying out the timeline not in the usual horizontal format, but in a vertical view. Readers essentially move into the protests as they slide the navigation button along several months.

Screenshot of The Guardian’s Arab Spring timeline

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Mapping opinions and votes

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It’s that time of year again. Leaves of various colors, sweater weather and … politics!

Every major news organization has to have an electoral map for the election. These maps try to explain the complex electoral college system and votes needed to win the presidency. They show through visuals and numbers which and how many states vote certain ways and track trends.

Here are a few different interactive electoral maps:

The New York Times

Screenshot of The New York Times electoral votes map

The New York Times has an entire section on the website dedicated to politics. Their electoral map, called Building a Path to Victory, breaks down information in several ways and graphics.

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Gazette.net proves ‘less is more’

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One local newspaper follows the motto “less is more” on its website.

This motto can create strong, attractive website design.

Eliminating the clutter

The Gazette website has very clean design. One aspect of this is white space.

There is a good amount of blank space — no content — in between stories and photos. This gives the reader a rest and allows content to stand out.

There seems to be less on the Gazette website’s homepage than larger news outlets — and there is. The website is less cluttered and each section and headline is spaced out. Headlines don’t run together and it is easy to tell apart different sections.

white space: the unprinted area of a piece of printing, blank space
–dictionary.com

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Personalizing data

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Normally numbers don’t do anything for me. Numbers don’t explain clearly — they confuse, and distort and complicate. That’s why I like words. But when numbers are personalized and shown visually, it’s like they’re transformed from abstract values to sentences and paragraphs.

Data for your area

The Washington Post’s Top Secret America uses lots of numbers to illustrate the growth of counterterrorism organizations since the Sept. 11 attacks. But the Post goes a step further to make the data significant — the interactive map shows data specific to the user and his or her location.

Screenshot of Top Secret America

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Blueprints behind media websites

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The blueprint of a website — not the code, HTML or CSS — is its design.

News organization websites face a problem in their design — they have to arrange a lot of content, mostly text, and still make it interesting, as web designer Steven Snell explains in Smashing Magazine.

Don’t:

Screenshot of Friday Freebies page

The Friday Freebies page on wtop.com lists free things for people to do or get. People are interested in anything free. But the page has too much text to focus on.

The list currently uses bullets and sections include “Free Food,” “Free Stuff” and “Free Things to Do.” 

Since it’s hard to focus on a large amount of text, the long list should be broken down with:

  • subheadings
  • bullets
  • pictures
  • graphics

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The media is having a social, you’re all invited

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News organizations use social media

Follow us!

Share this!

Chat with us!

Join the conversation!

These are common invitations and pleas from news organizations today. They can be seen on news website homepages and individual articles. There are social media buttons on articles, so viewers can share the article on various social media sites without going to the individual sites.

Social media is the new way to socialize, and news organizations are using it to increase readership and audience, as a tool for readers to share what they’re reading and what they find interesting or entertaining.

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Burglaries, robberies & theft, oh my!

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Crime covered by local news

Most impressive multimedia

Screen shot of infographic

The Los Angeles Times website has an excellent page on its website for crime reporting. The multimedia and infographics are high-quality, informative and varied.

At the top of the page, which is great placement, there is an infographic that provides crime analysis by neighborhood. The graphic maps crime in Los Angeles cities and breaks down crime into violent or property categories. There is a timeline under the map with more crimes listed by date.

A user can put in their neighborhood or search an L.A. County address and a Google map of certain crimes in that neighborhood comes up. The map can be zoomed in or out and the crimes are broken down into categories.

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Local news goes online

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The DMV Report will serve as a sort of aggregation and analysis of websites that cover news from D.C., Maryland and Virginia. This includes crime, local features, weather, breaking news and more. The analysis will include the type of news covered, how social media and multimedia is used, website design and more.

Online presence for more regionally-focused news has grown drastically over the last 10 or so years. Most local newspapers, television and radio stations and magazines have online versions of their printed or otherwise publicized products. This online counterpart often has a place to stream stories and audio and view videos that have often been played on air or television. The websites also feature articles only for the Web.

There are often social interactions on these websites, such as forums, social media, discussion boards and more to get viewers and readers more involved. In terms of social media, most large media organizations have Twitter handles, Facebook pages and sometimes YouTube channels and more — some don’t have all of these and some have none. Some hyperlocal news organizations use more social media than larger media organizations.

In terms of big changes, hyperlocal news started around 2005, a time when local news organizations were still creating websites or working on gaining an audience for them. Continue reading

The DMV Report

Welcome to The DMV Report, a blog that focuses on news from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. This blog is an assignment for my Online Journalism class at the University of Maryland. I will be analyzing how other websites report on news from the DMV, use social media and design their sites.

Check back soon to learn more about The DMV Report!