Fun does not equal fluff. Spice up data viz and you can “take a wonky topic and personalize it,” said Tasneem Raja of Mother Jones in the “Making interactives fun” session.
Also, fun interactives build your credibility for the hard-nosed investigations down the line. When readers see how you deftly handle dog license data they think, “We can trust these guys when it comes to data journalism,” Raja said.
Some examples of varying degrees of difficulty:
Mother Jones made a “choose your own adventure” app on how non-US citizens can get a green card, and a quiz on various illnesses that have infected U.S. presidents through the years. Check out the code on Mother Jones’ Git Hub.
WNYC pulled dog licenses and mapped the most common names and breeds throughout the boroughs. You can even export the data onto a t-shirt for purchase, which has earned WNYC over $1,000. PBS News Hour puts campaign ads into your hands with its Ad Libs 2013 app. Link it up with your Facebook account to make your own attack ads.
Once in a lifetime
The Guardian created an online video game that asks, “Could you be a medallist?” In this throwback to the Atari-era, you can compete against Olympians and even a zebra, and see how you compare. The interactive consumed a small flock of workers, including one with previous zoology experience.