Tag Archive | how-to

How to create a low-tech data visualization using 2 newspapers…

The staff over at PageOneX have created a low-tech way to create a bar chart comparing the amount of news to the amount of advertisement space for a print edition newspaper. The ratio they found (and show) for The New York Times on June 20th, 2013 is approximately 2:1! Check it out:


How to do this?

  1. Buy two copies of the same edition of one newspaper. You need two copies to be able to display both sides of every page. We used the exterior side of the papers from one copy, and the interior from the other copy.
  2. To be cautious, we  marked (draw a thin line) in the side of the paper that we were not going to use, to avoid having a piece of paper and not do not know which side is the one to use.
  3. Cut and separate Ads and News.
  4. Once you have the two piles with Ads and News, you have to make the bar charts. Keep’em straight and make them have the same width. To make the puzzle easier we put all the full (uncut) size pages together at the bottom of the  bars.

(Note: I did not write the above instructions, they are taken directly from the PageOneX blog – very clear and helpful!)

I think this is a great example of how communication and data visualization does not need to be complicated or high-tech to grab people’s attention or to be effective. This is a project that almost anyone could do, and gives us a great visual which has taken a lot of information and turned it into a form that can be read and understood in a quick glance.

PageOneX is an interesting new project which makes it easy to “track, code, and visualize major news stories based on the proportion of newspaper front pages that they take up.” From their about page, some context is given on how they came up with the concept:

PageOneX is an open source software tool designed to aid the coding, analysis, and visualization of front page newspaper coverage of major stories and media events. Newsrooms spend massive time and effort deciding what stories make it to the front page. Communication scholars have long used column-inches of print newspaper coverage as an important indicator of mass media attention. In the past, this approach involved obtaining copies of newspapers, measurement by hand (with a physical ruler), and manual input of measurements into a spreadsheet or database, followed by calculation and analysis. Some of these steps can now be automated, while others can be simplified; some can be easily shared by distributed teams of investigators working with a common dataset hosted online.” (Read more herePageOneX – About)

Hat tip to Chris Blattman (Assistant Professor of Political Science & International and Public Affairs at Columbia University) for re-posting this on his blog, which is also worth reading.

– Sarah Topps 2013


Presenting Health Data to Low Literacy Populations

Ever wondered how to effectively present your health materials to low literacy populations? Check out the following presentation for some useful tips and tools:

Health Data for Low Health Literacy

The purpose of this document is to get you to understand why health communication is important within the context of low health literacy. It addresses some key strategies that you can use to effectively communication health information to these kinds of populations. At the end of the presentation is a list of some valuable resources that you can further consult when preparing to present your materials.

Here are some additional helpful links on the topic:


http://phil.cdc.gov/phil/home.asp (a cool CDC public health image database!)


On a somewhat related note, here’s an interesting approach to providing a health message that is culturally appropriate:

– Misha B.

How-To: Ethical Imagery

This presentation introduces the issue of ethical imagery, presents the complexities related to creating ethical and effective communication tools, and provides an alternative approach organizations can use to guide the creation of communication tools proposed by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) .

How-To_Ethical Imagery Feb 7

Presented by Gaju Karekezi, February 7, 2013.

How to use Stages of Change

This presentation provides information about the stages of change model of behaviour change.


To help get a better understanding of how it works, it has been applied to trying to increase the amount of sleep you get.


Ice Breaker Image

Hello Class,

Thank-you for being such an excellent audience and being active participants in my “How to conduct Ice Breakers” presentation. Click on this link to retrieve the powere point: ICE BREAKERS Power Point.

Included are the slides I used for my presentation complete with some excellent resource links to dozens of ice breaker ideas for a wide variety of circumstances and audiences.  You will also find some You Tube videos that I think are worth taking a look at.  Please feel free to use my powerpoint or any of the content in the future.  I made this as a resource for you.

If you  walk away with  only three points from my presentation they would be:

1. Keep it simple: Ice breakers don’t need to be genius or complex. You will be surprised with how much a seemingly trivial activity makes a huge difference. Don’t spend time and energy coming up with your own activity when there are loads out there for you to freely use.  Use the resources I’ve included in the presentation.

2. Be prepared: Run through the activity in advance and plan for the context (See my “Ice Breakers 101: Preparation Slide”). Have a Plan B for unexpected circumstance (e.g. too much furniture in the room, or too many or too few people, time is short).

3. Enjoy the activity yourself.  Actively participate and deliver the activity believing it IS awesome (no matter how silly) .  If you think and do this, others will join you.

And remember, even if you have little to no experience public speaking, YOU CAN lead a successful ice breaker.

All the Best,

Suzanne Vander Wekken

P.S. If you would like to contact me personally about the presentation my email is svanderw@sfu.ca.

How to Add Some Pizzazz to Your Blog Posts

This blog post will show you how to use some of WordPress.com’s built-in features to make your blog post really POP!

Bold and Italic work the same way as in Microsoft Word – simply click the or I buttons (or use ctrl+b/ctrl+i)

> Adding colour is also the same as in Word, simply highlight the text, and choose your colour from the drop-down menu
(Just be careful which colours you use – some are very hard to read, such as yellow, white, or neon green!

text colour button

> To add a hyperlink, you simply select the text that you wish to link, and select the link buttonthe-link-button

> To add images or other file types from your computer, click the “Add Media” button at the top left corner, above B and I


(Allowed file types: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, pdf, doc, ppt, odt, pptx, docx, pps, ppsx, xls, xlsx. Max size: 1 GB )

> You can also add a YouTube video or other HTML embedded features by clicking “Embed” underneath any YouTube video and copy+pasting the provided link directly into your blog post like so:

embedding youtube image

The video will then appear in your post looking like this:

> Add a category (How-To…) and tags (health, communication, blog, Youtube, SFU) on the lower right hand side of the page

> Finally remember to always sign your blog posts (Take credit where credit is due!)

– Sarah Topps 2013

How to Start Blogging in 6 Easy Steps

1. Visit WordPress.com and click “Get Started” to sign up

2. Enter your email, a username and password, and then choose a name for your blog

Or, if you prefer to post to an existing blog, click “sign up for just a username” to the right of the blog name box

3. Check your email and confirm your registration

4. Sign in to WordPress.com > go to MyBlogs > click “Create New Blog

(Bonus step: Anytime after this point, you can go back to MyBlogs and click “Change appearance” to choose a theme!)

5. Under MyBlogs, you should now see your new blog – click “1 Post” and then near the top of the page “Add New Post

6. You should now see a box where you can add text, pictures and videos. When you are finished editing, click Publish!

For some good tips on How to Write a Good Blog Post – check out this post by the British Council.
To see what good blog posts look like and maybe find some inspiration, check out Time Magazine’s Top 25 Blogs of 2012!
If you’re having trouble with any of the steps above, or if you want to learn more about WordPress.com, check their support page.
Have fun playing around with the various buttons and settings. Welcome to the world of blogging!

– Sarah Topps 2013