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2013: The Year in Interactive Storytelling


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Review of Interactive Storytelling at the New York Times Interactive storytelling takes traditional elements of journalism — words, pictures, data, videos, etc. — and uses web technologies to blend them into an immersive and unique online experience, often allowing the audience to interact with the content. The best way to get a grasp on this type of content is by playing around with it yourself! I recommend checking out 2014: The Year in Interactive Storytelling, Graphics and Multimedia and 2013: The Year in Interactive Storytelling, Graphics and Multimedia.

A Game of Shark and Minnow - Who Will Win Control of the South China Sea? A Game of Shark and Minnow In a remote corner of the South China Sea, 105 nautical miles from the Philippines, lies a submerged reef the Filipinos call Ayungin. Satellite imagery: NASA In most ways it resembles the hundreds of other reefs, islands, rock clusters and cays that collectively are called the Spratly Islands. Die Welt’s analytics system de-emphasizes clicks and demystifies what it considers a “quality” story German daily Die Welt’s internal grading system for its online articles sounds a little nerve-wracking. All published pieces are assigned a single score made up of five components and ranked; then a top 10 list is emailed out to the entire newsroom each morning, with some comments from an editor. But editors argue this isn’t some dystopian reduction of complex journalism into a single number. They say it’s about making totally transparent what the newsroom values in what it publishes online — not just clicks but also engagement time, not just views on the site but also how well a story travels on social media. “The score was implemented mainly to increase the production quality of the product,” Oliver Michalsky, deputy editor of Die Welt online, told me over email. “Does the headline work well?

Riding the New Silk Road - Interactive Feature Chinese drivers check a train carrying Hewlett-Packard notebook computers, which are being shipped nearly 7,000 miles by rail from western China to Western Europe along the northern route of the ancient Silk Road. A rusting Soviet-era tank, its barrel still pointing toward China, sits next to a rail yard near the China-Kazakhstan border. Truck-mounted cranes move containers from Chinese freight cars to Kazakh freight cars, which use the wider gauge of the former Soviet Union’s rail network. Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With the Obama White House, in Two Charts When President Obama announced his support last week for a Federal Communications Commission plan to open the market for cable set-top boxes — a big win for consumers, but also for Google — the cable and telecommunications giants who used to have a near-stranglehold on tech policy were furious. AT&T chief lobbyist Jim Cicconi lashed out at what he called White House intervention on behalf of “the Google proposal.” He’s hardly the first to suggest that the Obama administration has become too close to the Silicon Valley juggernaut.

Empire: the Controversies of British Imperialism — University of Exeter — FutureLearn The British Empire was the largest empire ever seen. It ruled over a quarter of the world’s population and paved the way for today’s global economy. But British imperialism isn’t without controversy, and it continues to cause enormous disagreement among historians today. Explore the British Empire through six controversial themes This free online course will help you understand why. Over six weeks, we’ll explore the British Empire through six themes - money, violence, race, religion, gender and sex, and propaganda. Graphics What is El Niño and how does it affect global crop yields? The 2015-16 El Niño episode has been either the most or one of the most intense on record, depending on which measure you use. Going on sea surface temperatures alone, the latest El Niño narrowly edges out 1997-98, the previous strongest. Temperatures in the Niño 3.4 region of the Pacific Ocean — the most commonly used of the regions scientists measure for signs of an developing El Niño or La Niña conditions — peaked at 2.37°C above the long term trend in November 2015, just ahead of the 2.33°C mark reached in 1997. Read more

Data visualisation DIY: our top tools What data visualisation tools are out there on the web that are easy to use - and free? Here on the Datablog and Datastore we try to do as much as possible using the internet's powerful free options. That may sound a little disingenuous, in that we obviously have access to the Guardian's amazing Graphics and interactive teams for those pieces where we have a little more time - such as this map of public spending (created using Adobe Illustrator) or this Twitter riots interactive. But for our day-to-day work, we often use tools that anyone can - and create graphics that anyone else can too. So, what do we use?

This is what it sounds like when you put tree rings on a record player. This is an excerpt from the record Years, created by Bartholomäus Traubeck, which features seven recordings from different Austrian trees including Oak, Maple, Walnut, and Beech. What you are hearing is an Ash tree’s year ring data. Every tree sounds vastly unique due to varying characteristics of the rings, such as strength, thickness and rate of growth. Keep in mind that the tree rings are being translated into the language of music, rather than sounding musical in and of themselves. Traubeck’s one-of-a-kind record player uses a PlayStation Eye Camera and a stepper motor attached to its control arm. The Russia Left Behind A few times every day, the high-speed train between St. Petersburg and Moscow barrels through the threadbare town of Lyuban. When word gets out that the head of Russia’s state railway company — a close friend of President Vladimir V. Putin — is aboard, the station’s employees line up on the platform standing at attention, saluting Russia’s modernization for the seconds it takes the train to fly through.