Mojo #2 : Time Flow of journalism

I really like the video I’ve seen on the Phillip Mendonça-Vieira blog today about New york time Timelaps. (the right one)
First of all because it expresses something that we forget in our daily use of news : the time context of news. Secondly the video is aesthetically interesting. And third because it reminds me this work I made with a serie of screenshots of the webpages of the NYT rss feed (the left one). In this two works (Phillip’s video and mine), we make use of the time as a motion tool in the case of Phillip and as a perspective tool in my case. This is art and it’s really cool to mix and create idea, but it doesn’t have a real purpose. However these works can help us to design user interfaces which enhance the reader news experience (as a reader / and as a contributor). Here the subject is feel the time.

Mosaic User interface for News

In 2004, Marcos Weskamp applied the principle of Treemap invented by Ben Sheidermann to the Google News cluster and make that shows an overview of the news at a given time.

From our perspective, this work is interesting in multiple ways :
– it applies visualisation technique to the field of press itself
– the interface enhances a way to point some articles and present quickly what are the most covered subjects now, so it uses the production of information as an indicator of browsing.
– aesthetically the mosaic is used more and as a format to show more informations than in a linear layout.

In 2010, The Guardians made an experiment : zeitgeist.

“Zeitgeist is an experiment in showing trending news, topics and articles from the Guardian. Find out more in our blog post.”

“Zeitgeist is a visual record of what people are currently finding interesting on at the moment. While other bits of the site are curated by editors (like the front page, or individual sections) or metadata (like blogs, which display in reverse-chronological order), Zeitgeist is dynamic, powered by the attention of users, which is why we’ve put this into the Community section.”

more informations here

Time perspective in journalism interfaces.

In this two examples we have an aggregation of post curated by an algorithm presented in a treemap/mosaic layout. The News map layout is useful because it represents the importance of each subject. But We don’t have the time dimension yet. So I imagined an interface in which you can visualize and browse the evolution in time of news cluster (it can be an aggregation or a newspaper database or a wire services). The advantage to apply visualisation methods to the news database itself is to see the trail of the editorial work over the time.

At IRI I am working on the idea to use the StreamGraph invented by Lee Byron & Martin Wattenberg, as a timeline widget to browse the time dimension of news cluster. The added value of this type of interface is to show the quantity and its evolution of redaction on a subject in time. If we zoom out this streamgraph over on or two year, it should reveal regular patterns. We can imagine a layer of human annotation on top of this timeline to editorialise the flow of publishing. In this case, dragging and dropping the time cursor on the streamgraph would recompose automatically the treemap view, and facilitate the browsing of the news archive in the context.