One of the story forms PBSNews.org will be using (launching in weeks) is what we call DataStories; taking hundreds, thousands and sometimes millions of numbers, or massive unwieldy public documents, and making it possible for our average Web user to use that information to better understand some aspect of our world. DataStories are not just pretty graphs or maps, but editorial experiences contextualized with information tailored to each Web user.
Here's an example tracking our nation's credit card debt.
Now this is where YOU come in:
Ultimately we plan on enabling stations to pull a DataStory into your website that's hooked up to the Merlin API, just as you would any other piece of content. Where applicable, you will be able to add something to the end of the URL to customize and/or localize the DataStory to your audience.
We'll also create template tools enabling you to turn datasets of your choice into DataStories, with no programming required beyond knowing how to use a Web browser, and maybe a little HTML.
But even before we activate these plans, we need your help. First and foremost, let us know DataStories you'd like to see based on data or documents in your community, whether or not they have national ramifications.
Reach out to us if you'd like to work with us on creating a custom project for your station -- we're interested in partnering with specific PBS stations to get more data projects out in the wild.
And of course, contact me with any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns. This will be an ongoing experiment, and we'll be adjusting as we go. The one thing we're not doing: taking the easy path, and letting the digital revolution pass us by.
Thanks for your attention and your cooperation!
This article authored by Michelle Minkoff, DataStory Producer