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In The News / Vox Delicii

Who’s In The News?

Data visualizations of Google’s massive news aggregator are an interesting way to graphically keep tabs on developing news stories.

A view of the project’s time-based interface.

Stamen’s In The News visualizer provided a visual reference for Google’s “In The News” sidebar, providing an archive of popular news items, links to headlines, and a method for comparing news item performance over time. From 2004-2005, it provided a unique view on the 2004 presidential election, and tracked how stories about world events erupted and subsided.

The interface could be refocused on specific names, and groups of items could be compared over time using sparkline-style graphs.

On August 2, 2005, we stopped gathering data from Google News. For one reason and another, Google started changing the way they tracked news items too often for the data to remain statistically meaningful. From then until February 2006, the project tracked the most popular items on Del.icio.us instead. We quickly found ourselves in the position of using the project itself to trace how well it was doing on the very data source it was visualizing:

Oh, so meta! Vox in Vox

We had hoped the data would remain more consistent and based on user input, and lead to some interesting analytical conclusions. Once Yahoo! bought Del.icio.us, we noticed another change: items that had formerly stayed on the front page for 3 or 4 days began popping up for a single day, and then dying. The data became less and less interesting, as there was less and less to track. In February, 2006 we decided to turn it off again. Do let us know if there's another data source you'd like to see visualized in this way.

March, 2004: Rice vs. Clarke hits the news

June 9, 2004: the project hits metafilter