The 2015 Graduation and Dropout Report uses storytelling, photography and data to walk through how five years of Graduation Matters Montana has resulted in record-high graduation rates.
Two years ago, Philip Mazeikas answered the front door of his family home. The course of his life changed when he opened it.
At 24-years-old, Mazeikas found himself in the middle of his first psychotic episode. He thought he’d been contacted by aliens who were using him in a scheme to control the world. He wasn’t eating well. He was drinking his own urine.
“I was storming around the house, really angry, when I heard a knock at the door,” Mazeikas recalls. “I remember thinking to myself, stay cool, act normal, whatever you do, don’t say anything about aliens, because they’ll think you’re crazy.”
An interesting data visualization from The New York Times shows the majority of the people living in Montana were born there.
The Times created this chart (and one for each state) showing state-to-state migration going back to 1900. At the turn of the 20th century, many of the people living in Montana were born outside of the United States, that’s not a big surprise given the westward migration of some foreigners who headed to Big Sky Country in search of striking it rich on gold, copper, and other natural resources.
By 1950, the majority of the people living in Montana were born there. The share of native-born Montanans peaked in 1970 at 61 percent. By 2012, 54 percent of the people living in Montana could call themselves native. By contrast, less than half the population of Idaho are natives.
Like other western states, the bulk of the people moving in to Montana are from California, Washington, and Oregon.
My paternal great-grandparents moved to Montana sometime before 1913. It’s not clear when my maternal great-grandparents arrived in Montana from Ireland, family history shows it was sometime around 1920.
It seems like everyone I know has recently had a baby, or is expecting one. My Facebook feed has shifted from wedding photos, to baby photos.
completely horrified nervous to even begin thinking about having my own kid, even though the deluge of photos of chubby cheeks and Michelin man arms are pretty darn cute.
The closer I paid attention, the more I realized everyone I know who has had a baby this year (or is about to), have had boys! BOYS! I was seriously contemplating if we were on the verge of a national girl shortage.
I went straight to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics reports and the U.S. Census Bureau for answers. It turns out, there are a lot more boy babies born each year than girl babies. The CDC has a whole column in its report called “excess males” (awesome, I know).
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released data that looks at wealth density across the country. The data shows where the top 5 percent of income earners in the United States were located from 2007-2011. By Census’ measure, the top 5 percent is defined as households earning at least $191,469 annually.
It’s no surprise the concentration of these high-income earners are mostly in and around urban centers on the coasts. The wealthiest metro-area for example is Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut, with 17.9 percent of its households earning at least $191,469 per year.
I put together this interactive county-by-county map for Montana (my home state), where the largest percentage of high-income earners is in the small south-eastern county of Powder River.
When you start talking about campaign finance reports, it’s likely more than a few people in your audience will stop listening. The phrase ‘campaign finance’ is enough to get people to turn the radio dial.
But what happens when you give your audience an interactive, visual experience? Clicks. Lots and lots of clicks.
A week before the Nov. 6 election, my StateImpact Idaho colleague Molly Messick and I sat down to do some good old fashioned data entry. Idaho’s Secretary of State keeps an online database of campaign finance reports, but they’re hard to read (many times they’re scanned in hand-written), they aren’t sortable, and they’re certainly not presented in a visual way.
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.
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.
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.