Kim Rees on data visualization: There’s a story in every piece of data

Kim Rees, co-founder of Periscopic, was speaker for the 14th International Symposium on Online Journalism held during Apr. 19 and Apr. 20, 2013. (Knight Center/Flickr)

Multimedia narratives and data visualization were the hot topics on Saturday afternoon at IOSJ.  In an interview beforehand, Kim Rees, co-Founder of Periscopic, talked about telling the story behind the numbers.

Rees and her colleagues at Periscopic, who describe themselves as a “socially-conscious data visualization firm,” have been visualizing data in new and interactive way since 2004, constantly looking for opportunities created by the vast amount of data available. Their work has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York, and publications like Print Magazine and Flowing Data. The topics of their data visualizations are as wide-ranging as the state o the polar bear and the United States job landscape over the last fifty years.

One of their aims is to promote “data-literacy” and to develop an audience that can read data just as well as words. Rees is convinced that “visualizations can help people to understand information better [and] can help them to explore what that data means.” Presenting data in approachable ways helps fight the fear of data that a lot of people still have, be it because they do not have the best relation to anything numerical or because they expect statistics to be fudged.

In this video Kim Rees talks about the correlation between numbers and stories and explains how Periscopic works to combine both.

If you don’t want to wait until this afternoon to hear more about data visualization, have a look at the keynote Kim Rees gave at the 2012 Strata Conference London.

At ISOJ, Kim Rees will discuss her ideas about data visualization with other prominent figures in the field:  Hannah Fairfield, senior graphics editor at the New York Times and Scott Klein, editor of the news applications at ProPublia. Alberto Cairo, professor of practice at the University of Miami, will hold the chair of the panel, which takes place at 1:45 pm today.