NewsBeast Labs – Data Journalism at Newsweek & The Daily Beast
Since June, NewsBeast Labs has been developing interactive data projects on such topics as the 2012 election, access to abortion services in America and the national gun debate. Our projects use everything from traditional computer-assisted reporting techniques and web scraping, to new techniques in interactive mapping and presenting readers’ stories as part of the narrative.
When we come up with a project topic, we design for two speeds: What can we do today and what can we do if we had a whole month? For instance, following the Newtown shooting, we did a quick turnaround interactive asking readers to complete the sentences “I own a gun because…” or “I don’t own a gun because…” to see what readers had to say about gun ownership in the wake of the shooting. As a longer project, we created a database of all 530+ members of congress and categorized their stance on gun control based on recent statements and voting records. We created a tool — This Is Your Rep On Guns — to let readers find their representatives, see their recent statements and contact them. We also created a Twitter bot — @YourRepsOnGuns — that retweets representatives when the discuss guns. The bot keeps the project alive and lets the topic become a part of readers’ daily feed.
On a visual level, we also design for two speeds: Some readers will spend two seconds with the story and some will spend two hours — we design the visuals to convey the story instantly but also include all the complexity of the issue in data that interested readers can explore. You can read more about our projects at http://newsbeastlabs.tumblr.com or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org