And more from the last week on Nightingale

We’re excited to introduce a new segment here on The ’Gale called “Three Questions With …” in which we, as you might guess, ask three questions to data visualization practitioners. The questions will stay the same but the people answering will not; we will feature designers, analysts, artists, curators, and more who work in data visualization.

For the inaugural “Three Questions With …” we caught up with Elijah Meeks. Elijah is the Chief Visualization Officer at and the Executive Director of the Data Visualization Society. He’s spent over a decade building and writing about data visualization. Thanks, Elijah!

Three Questions With … Elijah Meeks


Why we devoted last week to the intersection of data viz and entertainment — and what we learned

From 2011 to 2019, HBO’s Game of Thrones dominated the hearts, minds, and TV screens of millions of viewers across the country. Outside of the occasional military map, there wasn’t much data visualization to be found in the world of Westeros. In our world, however, there was plenty.

It’s a testament to George R.R. Martin, whose A Song of Ice and Fire was adapted for TV, that his sprawling, mythological world lent itself so well to visualization. With hundreds of characters entangled in a complex (and betrayal-filled) political web covering multiple contents, there is basically as much to visualize in…

Nightingale’s newsletter is your new best way to stay up to date with the journal of the Data Visualization Society

It’s not a tropical storm, it’s not a bird, it’s not your mom’s friend (unless your mom is friends with Florence Nightingale, in which case it kind of is). No, The ’Gale is the new newsletter for Nightingale, the journal of the Data Visualization Society, and we are excited to present our first issue. In this installment, we’ll tell you a bit more about our plans for The ’Gale and update you on some recent stories and any news you may have missed.

Data journalist Youyou Zhou on the unintended consequences of data visualization during the pandemic

When The New York Times’s visual story How the Virus Got Out published, the two circles of data journalists Youyou Zhou is a member of reacted differently. On Twitter, her U.S. data journalism community praised the work as the golden standard of visual storytelling. Elsewhere, “my friends working in the data journalism space in China weren’t happy with it,” Zhou told me.

The project is part of a growing body of urgent visualization work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Zhou has worked as a data journalist for about six years, and can’t remember a time when data and visual…

We need BI tools that are easy to use and deeply collaborative. Are dashboards up to the task?

Illustration by Tayler Edwards

A topic that keeps cropping up in the data visualization world is the continued role of dashboards. More specifically, is there one? The question can evoke a passionate response. Dashboards have been at the heart of data visualization for as long as many practitioners can remember. But now, the craft is evolving and we need BI products that enable everyone to explore data, don’t require much effort to learn, and are deeply collaborative. Are dashboards up to the task?

Opinions vary. Chartio, for example, thinks the answer is yes. The cloud-based data analytics platform has built a new type of…

The practice of drawing charts and diagrams dates back hundreds of years. From William Playfair’s 1786 economic analysis of world trade patterns to Dr. John Snow’s map showing the 1854 cholera epidemic in London to Joseph Minard’s 1869 map showing the death during Napoleon’s army’s winter attack on Moscow, there have been several moments in history when data visualization contributed to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges. None quite like this, though.

During the COVID-19 crisis, data visualization researchers and professionals have risen to the challenge, delivering widely used tools for public explanations, pandemic modeling, and government policy-making. …

Last week, in honor of the 50th Earth Day, Nightingale published a series of articles exploring the intersection between data viz and the environment. When we announced the package, we wrote: “Dataviz can enhance our appreciation of the planet, illuminate our relationship to it, and call us to action to preserve it.”

Now that Earth Week has ended, I can confirm: We were correct.

The articles and visualizations we published over the last seven days highlighted Earth’s natural beauty, analyzed some of the ways we’ve visualized it, laid bare the ways we’ve impacted it, and called on us to make…

On Earth Day, it’s a good time to revisit the iconic photograph from 30 years ago and the man who made it famous

During the COVID-19 pandemic, data journalism has come front and center. It has proved to be a reliable and effective way to communicate information about not only the spread and magnitude of the coronavirus but also how individuals can do their part to flatten the curve. This week, Nightingale spoke with two journalists whose work has stood out even amidst an “infodemic.”

The titular quote came from our interview with John Burn-Murdoch, a data journalist for the The Financial Times who created the widely circulated log scale charts. …

Isaac Levy-Rubinett

managing editor for Nightingale

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store