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 Newsmap.jp 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 guardian.co.uk 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.



9 Comments

  1. Amy Zerba wrote:

    I really like your idea of a timeline for the tree map. That tree map idea has always impressed me visually. Plus, you can see the news in other countries. My question for you, and maybe for the final project, is: How can this tool help journalists? As a user, I get lost in it (in a good way) because it is absolutely breath-taking. Would I visit it every day? I’m not sure. But maybe that’s not the point. Just something to think about. Best of luck to you, Samuel. — Amy Z.

    • admin wrote:

      @Amy Zerba , before the @mohamed talk I didn’t understood your question well because this first design was for users.
      Do you now this quotes “He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.” Abraham Maslow .
      When I was news addict after a while I want to change my lecture tools because I was overflooded by information and I read post like nail …

      Probably this tool can be more usefull for experienced user like journalist than normal reader , it’s can be use to identify pattern, correlation, and other type of relation between data.

      One thing I imagine is in front of a big set of data I would like to apply filter like switch of everything about the XXX affaire because I want to be focus on that that and that and see just what things that have not been wirted on this before.

      For your project I will send you a comment soon because it’s really cool and there is some stuff to make impressive with comment I work a little about this subject for a start up in 2009.

    • admin wrote:

      @cole Nice ! I didn’t know this implementation of the streamgraph by Mike Bostock and the calendar one, I had sketch something like that one day but never release… it’s really impresive i will use it ! Thank you very much

  2. Maura wrote:

    Samuel, such a fascinating (& gorgeous) idea and exploration. I completely love it. I’m going to echo some of Amy’s questions, here. As a user, I love this idea – but I’m not sure how often I would visit and examine it in any full way. I’m also curious, and this will probably show some of my ignorance regarding what a StreamGraph actually is, but — who sets the parameters as to what the treemap is specifically measuring? The user? Over a set period of time, or is it easily alterable? Do you see the tool having more use for a specific topic, or for a specific story? Another interesting piece, how do you envision operationalizing “reactions?” Are reactions comments/how often an article is shared/how often “liked” or mentioned on Twitter? Maybe you incorporate Google Trends to gauge how often some key phrases are being searched? Really excited to see where this will go :) -@mauramaura

    • admin wrote:

      @maura Hi Maura, Thank you very much, I hope it will convince other people.
      For me that just a part of the iceberg. But when I made this mock up the idea was to show the news flow by the “outside”. (I don’t know if it’s clear… :-) )

      In fact have a quantitative view of trends, what is cover and not …? how news buble explode (as financial one) …

      The stream graph is made to show a quantitative view of cluster in time ( the NYT example show well that thanks Amanda Cox ). So it’s can be cluster from whatever (an agregation , a news paper, a wire services …)

      When I draw this mock up i made it for news reader / user on top of an agregator like Google News. I think like that reader can annotate the trend and overlay of news in front of quantitative data and a hudge database of reference and link.

      But during the last Mojo webminar with Mohamed Nanabhay
      @mohamed
      I just understand their is a need to have something like web ingest / agregator tool witch make visualisation to help the process of detect and link information…

      Reaction is one other big stuff, I think I will write an other post on this subject I made mock up for that.

      But I think it’s will be great if reaction can be directly on the medium. As the pardigme direct manipulation we have to make a new paradigme of reaction (comments) like direct comment…

      For instance on this stream graph “fact” and “polemic” is annotated information by human, and it’s can be crowdsourced.
      But with video the comment ( for instance in youtube) are always under the video, but we can timestamped it and link it on the timeline to be more accurate (like in http://www.polemictweet.com/rsln/polemicaltimeline.php ).

      I hope it’s reply to your question.

      In a more general view, I’m agree with the idea news be more and more conversational, but I think proposition Like stream graphe give the ability to zoom out. So we need to make tool for Micro and Macro interaction with the news flow…http://www.cybunk.com/blog2/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/webminar_talk_aljazeera.png” alt=”webminar” />

      Reaction is one other big stuff, I think I will write an other post on this subject I made mock up for that.

      But I think it’s will be great if reaction can be directly on the medium. As the pardigme direct manipulation we have to make a new paradigme of reaction (comments) like direct comment…

      For instance on this stream graph “fact” and “polemic” is annotated information by human, and it’s can be crowdsourced.
      But with video the comment ( for instance in youtube) are always under the video, but we can timestamped it and link it on the timeline to be more accurate (like in http://www.polemictweet.com/rsln/polemicaltimeline.php ).

      I hope it’s reply to your question.

      In a more general view, I’m agree with the idea news be more and more conversational, but I think proposition Like stream graphe give the ability to zoom out. So we need to make tool for Micro and Macro interaction with the news flow…

  3. [...] problem to filter when you open the input process. If filter is important as I said in my first and second  MOJO post with this idea of repetition rate, it’s impossible to filter raw data if you [...]

  4. Phillip Smith wrote:

    Really enjoyed this post, and the post-post commentary. Keep pushing on these ideas and, specifically, bring them back to the project that you are working on.

    –Phillip.

  5. [...] see this slide during is talk and have this expression “drowning in data”. It’s just make me [...]