Week 11 ECharts for Data Visualization

屏幕快照 2017-06-02 下午10.39.28Data visualization can make the cumbersome content be simple, the boring content be vivid, the abstract concept be specific. This is why data visualization has been concerned and discussed for nearly a decade. Data visualization is widely used by the journalism industry. Therefore, as a student of journalism, it is necessary to choose a suitable data visualization tool.

Data journalism is inseparable from the visualization of data, most of data news use infographics as a visual carrier, but if you need to show more complex data, or want to show in a more fresh way, allowing your readers to interact with the data you show to them, you may need to use some interactive charts. EChart can meet almost all demand of usage of data visualization in journalism industry.

ECharts is a product of Baidu, one of China’s three major Internet companies, it is a free Javascript chart library, you can run it smoothly on both PC and mobile devices, and it is compatible with most of the current browser. Moreover, the current version, ECharts 3 has more rich interactive features and more visual effects.

屏幕快照 2017-06-02 下午11.05.25

Opinions of EChart’s Users 屏幕快照 2017-06-02 下午11.05.06

Features of EChart

Although EChart is a product developed by the Chinese internet company, but it has an English version, and I found that many people outside China are using it or show their interest in EChart. To be honest, it makes me feel very happy as a Chinese,  good software should be shared for everyone to know.

Pictures Sources: https://ecomfe.github.io/echarts/index-en.html


How data journalism is different from the traditional journalism that what we’re used to

Nowadays in the digital era, journalism is no longer about a simple interview, a report, or a witness. The practice of using numerical data to assist in journalism is nothing new, and this is known to the public as ‘data journalism’. Professional Alex Howard gives a detailed definition of data journalism in his Tow Center paper: “gathering, cleaning, organising, analysing, visualising and publishing data to support the creation of acts of journalism.”

Gathering data from websites/downloading a spreadsheet; Analysing and doing calculations on the gathered data to look for stories or clues; Publishing stories created by data in an interactive and readable way.

All of the above features might not ‘fit a strict definition of reporting while they all contribute significantly in journalism,’ said Sarah Cohen, the leader of a data team at The New York Times.


One famous example is the “Murder Mysteries” project by Tom Hargrove of the Scripps Howard News Service. Tom sourced from the government data and public records ( demographically-detailed database) for over 185,000 unsolved murders. And then he used an algorithm to find out the hidden patterns of the possible presence of serial killers. In this project, the power and role of data are obvious: gathering sources from databases, analysing data by social science techniques, and readable and interactive presentation of the data.

Data enable journalism to achieve a lot of things that are difficult or even impossible in traditional journalism.

To journalists, they can now easily find a news story by finding ‘suss out patterns and follow up on leads’ from a global database. Besides, they can use the computer and intelligent software to assist their analysis and calculation.

To the audience, the real data and facts make the ‘stories’ much reliable. In the digital era where fake news is rampant in news media and social, this feature is rare and valuable. Another new opportunity is transparency. As reporters can now publish not only the raw data but the related analysis and calculations they’d done to reach their opinion, readers can now participate in analysing and form their own conclusion.

Jeremy Singer-Vine, the data editor from BuzzFeed, said, “Data is another skill that helps reporters tell stories.