Making Numbers Visual And Interesting (And Having Fun Too)

One of the best learning opportunities I’ve had as a multimedia journalist for StateImpact Idaho has been figuring out how to incorporate new tools for telling stories into my reporting.

My favorite so far is the mapping tool Google Fusion Tables.  Thanks to NPR StateImpact alum Matt Stiles, I think about data as more than just useful for a quick fact in a radio piece.

Here’s a good example. My colleague in Oklahoma made these sweet maps showing who is moving to and from the Sooner State.  It inspired me to make embark on a similar storytelling adventure.

Credit: Emilie Ritter Saunders | Matt Stiles / StateImpact

I downloaded IRS data that tracks state-to-state migration based on where people file tax returns each year.  I ended up with two maps that are viewed by our audience on a regular basis.

The story wasn’t groundbreaking or conclusive — but it’s interesting and full of factoids.