In The News

Let 'er load.
Posted June 9, 2004, Michal Migurski of Stamen Design. Updated August 19, 2004. Get updates on this project via newsfeeds (rss, atom) from my personal site.

Version 1.2 actionscript and Flash source, available for free download and modification:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

This is the newest incarnation of a project that's been flying close to the ground here at Stamen for almost six months now. The stripes you see at top are a near-realtime cumulative view of Google's "In The News" sidebar (if you don't see blue and red stripes, you need Flash), organized by date and popularity.

This data visualisation experiment is intended to give a high-level view of who's making news at the moment, and who made the news at specified times in the past. While I was working on it, I saw the excellent Newsmap, a project that gives an instantaneous overview of Google's headlines, rather than the time-linked information I've been collecting. Since launching it, I have also come across James Harry's "Week In Review", proof-positive that no programming experience is needed to create beautiful data visualizations.

The size of each color chip refers to the relative amount of coverage an item has received on Google News on a given day, based on total appearances in the "In The News" sidebar sampled every quarter-hour:

Screen capture of Google's In The News sidebar

Note that these items are representative of what Google thinks is a proper noun, so there are definite anomalies in the information. For example, on the week that Sun and Microsoft announced an end to their legal feud, "Sun Microsystems" made an appearance, "Microsoft" did not.

The color refers to relative growth or decay on that day - an item that has gained news-share since the previous day is red, while one that has lost is blue (note: you can change the color scheme by using the color switcher widget at left). Color chips are arranged left-to-right, in the order of that news item's first appearance in Google News: the oldest items will be at left, and newer items are at right. I make an effort to find redundancies - e.g. "George W. Bush" and "George Bush" are considered the same, based on a combination of text similarity and my own judgement.

Clicking on a color chip shows a small graph of that news item's performance over the previous month. The "Top Names", "Gainers" and "Losers" link lists can also be used to see this information.

The "Back" and "Foward" links move you forward and backward in time by days or weeks, back to about February or so, when I started counting.

(718) 947-3101 is available and free for use. More info and interface improvements (suggestions welcome) are forthcoming.

Things I'm considering:

For now, enjoy!

Google News Graph, ©2004 by Michal Migurski of Stamen Design.