When no one will listen to your impassioned pleas, the next best thing is to make a funny video containing your concerns go viral

Photo and video: Viktor Szabo/Unsplash and Joshua Mannila/TikTok, compiled by Chris Stokel-Walker

Shrill synth bleeps of British electro-pop duo La Roux’s 2009 hit ‘Bulletproof’ ring out as a tousle-haired teenager in a green Adidas t-shirt looks off-camera. He searches for a bulletproof vest on Google. Then, the chorus kicks in: the video reverts into disco mode — neon lights flash and protective vests scroll across the screen — as our protagonist gyrates and theatrically sings the lyrics: “This time baby, I’ll be bulletproof”.

The subtext is grim. On the morning of 3 August 2019, a lone gunman walked into a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring 24…


It’s not just Lil Nas X: musicians are making their songs shorter and more memeable

Illustration: Chris Stokel-Walker

Montero Lamar Hill grew up in Lithia Springs, Georgia, a small city in the far suburbs of Atlanta, and had a childhood loaded with the challenges typically faced by black boys in the Deep South.

His parents divorced when he was six and Hill spent years living on a notorious housing project called Bankhead Courts. He quit playing trumpet, despite a glaring talent that saw him become first chair at elementary school, due to social pressure. (It wasn’t great for street credit.) …


On 15 December 2009, diggers roared into life on the outskirts of the little-known Chinese city of Zhuhai. Hundreds of workers scurried back and forth tools-in-hand as they began to create an artificial island on the western edge of the Pearl River Delta. It was to be the first step in China’s $15 billion project to build the largest sea bridge in the world.

Snaking between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland Zhuhai, the 55km-long, Y-shaped route — which used 420,000 tonnes of steel, enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers — is a key plank in the grand development of the…


Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, this newsletter is not one of them. It’s been a lot of fun and a great learning experience doing 1801. A few of you wrote to me asking what was going on — apologies, I had left things on a bit of a cliffhanger. I’m stopping this newsletter, in the medium term at least. Thanks for reading along and bearing with my haphazard attempts to make a pun out of everything. My personal circumstances have changed somewhat and I’m now freelance (so if you have any work or projects for me, get…


Hello everyone. This newsletter is here to champion innovative and fun ways of communicating information. I want to keep doing that, but change lies ahead. There will be a slightly different focus — on how stories are found, as well as how they‘re visualised. There might be a new section on datasets, for example, and no more Food 4 Thought. I’m very keen to hear suggestions about what I should do. So please DM me on Twitter or email me at peter.g.yeung@gmail.com. While imagining this future, I looked to the past and explored the archives of The Times, which was…


While AR and VR certainly won’t — anytime soon — be making the impact on journalism that its hype suggests, experiments such as this tour of France’s Mont Blanc are worth a look. It’s been wonderful to see the somewhat unexpected rise of local journalism through the likes of the BBC’s data unit and the Bureau Local, with Paul Bradshaw covering some recent achievements in his blog. A new “interactive publishing platform” called StaffWriter, influenced by KnightLab, is being launched (n.b. They asked me questions in the research stage). …


Apologies, but I went on a road trip during the Easter holiday and consumed an ungodly amount of food. Hence why this is a day late. Still, 1801 rises again! David Ottewell writes about the transformation of his Trinity Mirror data unit over the last five years, arguing that data journalism no longer feels young and we must focus on how it matures. The FT’s Chart Doctor blog explores the problem with gendered colour palettes. The Datawrapper blog revels in the joy of the Marimekko Chart, which allows you to convey another dimension of data. And someone published slides on…


Good Monday. I’m back. Datawrapper is on fire at the moment — innovating and developing at a pace never seen before with visualisation tools — and you can hear them on the ever-eccentric Data Stories podcast. Their latest blog post also explores how different levels of granular data can tell very stories with maps. Speaking of cartography, here’s an interesting City Lab article looking at how maps are different when made by women. Here’s a set of slides by Maarten Lambrechts on deceptive dataviz. I also came across this BBC podcast about the importance of data journalism from last year…


Hi 1801 readers. There’s an excellent post by OpenNews Source about how to do great data stories, another about the challenge of visualising data about refugees, a third that is David Ottewell’s round-up of the work done by his Trinity Mirror data unit, and a fourth by the Office for National Statistics explaining why they use visual journalism. And for the Freedom of Information lovers like myself out there, here’s an entire book PDF about how Sweden/Finland created the world’s first FOI law 250 years ago. Perhaps most important of all is this glorious collection of NICAR’s tipsheets and links


I’ve got to say, this must be one of the strongest editions of 1801 on record. Before that: The Data Journalism Awards published a blog on the state of data around the world, from China to Kenya. The Economist wrote about how they’re trying to make data journalism flourish on social media and build a community around it. Spotify open-sourced a thing called Coördinator, which makes it easy turn an SVG into XY coordinates for some visualising fun. And here is a most delightful New York Times map from 1930. I won’t get all Guardian, but if you think someone…

Peter Yeung

Peter Yeung is a freelance journalist that specialises in digital storytelling, data journalism and humanitarian reporting. www.peter-yeung.com

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