Tag Archive | Sarah Topps

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:

ads-vs-news_nytimes_pageonex_p-1024x952

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

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C4H Blog Announcement!

Hello dear readers!

This blog was originally created for a graduate course in Advocacy and Communication for Health taught by Dr. Kitty Corbett in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

As of 5pm today, all the grades have been submitted and a collective sigh of relief has gone up from those of us finishing the term. Many are graduating, others are spending the next few months working on practicums, and a few are taking courses during the summer term. As a class, we contributed 108 blog posts from Jan. 17th to April 23rd 2013.

And it turns out – we’re pretty popular!

In just a few months, we’ve had almost 4000 views from 64 different countries around the world!

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Together we have built up a useful resource that many have taken the time to send their thanks for – here are just a few of the reader comments that have been left on our blog:

I love your website! Thank you so much for sharing and imparting.” -Anonymous From India

Thanks for posting this! – Philadelphia Theatre for the Oppressed

Great article. Never consider marketing ethics being played out in religious groups! Thanks for posting the bullet points for ethical behaviour, very useful!” – MorallyMarketing.com

I wholeheartedly believe that when you are creating any type of health communication materials, it is absolutely critical to have members of the priority community participate on the development team because they do, in fact, have a rich lived experience that simply cannot be overlooked or minimalized. Thanks for sharing!” – Ohio Government member

I’d like to thank all of my colleagues for their amazing contributions and insights. This blog is an excellent example of the great synergy that comes from collective work in our Master of Public Health program at Simon Fraser University.

Since this is such a great resource, and it seems to be helping people around the world who are interested in public health, I volunteered to continue contributing to and moderating the blog, and a few of my fellow graduate students have also chosen to come forward as continuing authors. We look forward to continuing to build on these ideas and share them with you!

If you have a specific interest that you would like us to write about, or if there is a resource you would like us to review, please leave a comment below or if you prefer, send me an email: stopps@sfu.ca

Sarah Topps 2013 [Communication4Health moderator]

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A note to my colleagues: please send me an email by May 31st if you are interested in continuing to contribute (as little as twice every 6 months) and I will make up an author profile for you on the about page. After May 31st, I will be changing the status of anyone who has not emailed me so that they cannot modify the blog entries.

22 Rules of Storytelling by Pixar

Yup… you read that right – even Pixar uses formulas for success!

As health promoters, so much of what we do involves storytelling. We can learn from places such as Pixar, because let’s face it… their stories are sticky. Almost anyone raised in North America can tell you who this guy is:

buzz_lightyear_in_toy_story_3-1280x960

This list was originally tweeted by Emma Coats, a former story artist at Pixar who is now out in the world doing her own thing. I stumbled across this while reading Chris Blattman’s blog: ChrisBlattman.com – he is an associate professor at Columbia University in the field of political science and international development. He updates his blog frequently and his posts vary enough that there is usually something for everyone, whether they are a policy geek or not. For now, back to Pixar’s rules of storytelling. I’ve listed my four favourites below. (Why four? Why twenty-two? Why not?)

#4, Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

You can find the rest of the list over at aerogrammestudio.com

– Sarah Topps

Infographics and Vaccines: Information Contagion and Infection Control

I recently came across a new infographic that I love, and it reminded me to post on here about the importance of data visualization, especially when it comes to getting big messages across very quickly and in very few words. Our brains are visual. We only began reading and writing in the last few thousand years, and even then, it has been a rare gift and privilege for most of that time. However we have been visually absorbing information for as long as we, and our predecessors, have had eyes.

For some great online tools to create your own data visualizations, randing from prezi and pinterest to seal creators and gantt charts, I highly recommend that you check out this presentation: Data Visualization Tools PPT overview review created by Susan Kistler, (the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and aea365 blog  Saturday contributor). In her words, the presentation covers 25 tools that  “help us to merge truth and beauty“. You can download the full slidedeck from the AEA public eLibrary.

The infographic I mentioned (posted below) also reminded me that we, as health promoters are trying to s-p-r-e-a-d information and stop the spread of disease and poor health.

Print

Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/matthewherper/files/2013/02/c6fb5feb7f1ee71b7e725277d3099916.jpg 

The above infographic was created by Leon Farrant, a graphic designer in Purchase, N.Y., using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

– 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