Clip: Stating the union

OBJ_SOTU-focus-final.eps_1_1_661CBISK

Link: Graphic

Link: In print

For the state of the union, graphic artist Maxwell and I wanted to show the data behind the speech.

We based the graphic on the Constitution’s mandate for the address: that the president explain the state of the country while also recommending a political agenda to Congress. I then set out to find what data could represent both of those requirements. We chose milestones to compare speeches: 2012 (the graphic ran just before the 2013 speech), the previous year’s speech and the speeches from 50, 100 and 200 years ago.

For the actual state of America, we chose a few factors: legal immigration (represents transitioning times for the country and its policies), military size (could represent wars and U.S. policy), unemployment (an economic measure), people per square mile (to show the country’s growth over time) and the national debt (an economic and policy measure).

For the actual speech, I first found the text of each speech and found the most common words. I then color-coded the words that likely represented domestic or foreign policy. We included the first sentence of each speech to further show change over time.

Finally, we included a timeline on the page of all the speeches, showing the length, mediums and target grade level of each. Notes along the timeline point out interesting milestones and changes in the speech.

Clip: Flowing water: California to the Colorado

OBJ_monsoons_monday-chan_1_1_HK1C43FRLink: Graphic

Link: In print

This graphic is based on the findings of a study on irrigation in California causing an increase in monsoons in the southwest.

The main difficulty in presenting this graphic was explaining enough of the systems, but in so much detail that the reader became lost in one step of the graphic.

Clip: The presidency in terms

OBJ_focus.presidents.eps_5_1_2E1BSDH4Link: Graphic

Link: In print

As Barack Obama’s second presidential term neared, I wondered how we could show the timeline of the country in recent years. I worked to find data stretching back to 1933 while artist Maxwell illustrated the information. Each bit of data is intended to be a measure of something heavily impacted by the president.

I also found historic milestones of Obama’s first term, coupled with his approval rating by week, to provide more detail leading up to his second term.

Clip: Ring out Orange County’s 2012

EPS_yearinreview_updated_2_1_1M1BQQ9ELink: Graphic

Link: In print

I first got the idea for this graphic when I saw this website that shows the average color of the New York sky, updated every 5 minutes and based on webcams.

I wondered if there would be a way to visualize Orange County’s sky over the course of, perhaps, a year. I started by searching for weather data for the year. Then I thought we could attempt to show the county’s year through data – and to weave it all together in a circle. Artist Maxwell pulled it all together visually.

Clip: Sand slipping away

EPS_San_Clemente_sand_FI_7_1_JV1BIROFLink: Graphic

Link: In print

Reporter Fred Swegles brought me in to work on visualizing the San Clemente beach erosion and replenishment proposals.

The first step of reporting involved sifting through the hundreds of pages of the environmental impact report. I also found a letter written by an Army major general containing details on the project that city planners had not seen before.

Then I set to work collaborating with artist Scott Brown on deciding what details should be shown and how they should be illustrated in order to explain the beach problems.