audience, data visualization, infographic, Interactivity, virtual reality

Placing the user within the story: 3 good approaches

One of the oldest and most important unwritten rule says that you shouldn’t rely on words to tell your story.

Jerry Jenkins defines telling as simply informing your reader of information, rather than allowing him to deduce anything (showing).

In an information-saturated age, facts and figures don’t stick in our minds and the audience demands stories (Morgan, 2014).

Immersive reality, or interactive visualisations, amongst other technologies, facilitate media and companies to go beyond telling or showing and are placing the audience within the story.

An easy topic to apply these techniques are natural disasters. Audiences can hardly place themselves into the affected area or respond quickly to these dangers, and smartphones can help in this learning.

Below three good approaches:

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automation, chatbots, journalism, social media

These two chatbots will help you on your day-to-day work

I usually get the question on which is the chatbot I like the most, so I’ve decided to share two good initiatives that help me on my routine and to speed up some of the tasks.

When I first interact with a bot, I try to get some of the below out of them:

  • Presentation – To know what the bot can and cannot do
  • Information displayed in different ways: combination of text, buttons, images.
  • Proactive, but not spammy
  • Sense of humor
  • The bot intelligence/understanding to avoid getting frustrated when I don’t get the expected result

However, I chat again frequently if I find them useful for my day-to-day work. The two chatbots below are living on Facebook Messenger and want to facilitate users’ routine by summarising or double checking information that is on the red.

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data journalism, data visualization, infographic, journalism

5 great (and offbeat) World Cup 2018 visualizations

The World Cup 2018 has been running for a week in Russia now, and several data visualizations have been released to guide the user through the teams and showcase the winner.

From all publications, I’ve selected 5 that have an add-on to the conventional graphics from a competition where the same rules, process and data applies every four years.

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automation, chatbots, media, social media

This is what I learned after teaching on chatbots and journalism: 3 takeaways for newsrooms

For the past year, I’ve been invited to share some ideas on how bots can help newsrooms to deliver news and how to build an engaging chatbot experiences. And throughout these classes, I’ve also had challenging questions on how these technologies are pushing the boundaries of ethics, artificial intelligence and storytelling.

Below 3 takeaways for newsrooms that want to begin this chatbots journey.

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data, data journalism, data visualization, graphic design, infographic, instagram, journalism

“I tried to deal with numbers as professional as I could. But behind these, there were people, and I couldn’t run away from it” says Ferran Morales

What should we ask to the data? What is data telling us? And what is actually not telling?


Ferran Morales showing infographics from Zainab’ story

Ferran Morales, data journalist and graphic designer at El Mundo Deportivo, explains his challenge on processing refugees data to map The story of Zainab, an 11 years-old Syrian refugee girl and her family that had to leave their home because of the war in 2011.

This project was created by a group of people from Media Lab Prado under the Visualizar 2017, a workshop for prototyping data visualisation projects.

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data, data journalism, data visualization, infographic, journalism

What I learned on misleading data and visualizations at Alberto Cairo’s #visualTrumpery event

Trumpery is not linked to a famous politician. It means something flashy or beautiful, but without content. This is how Doctor Alberto Cairo started his talk in Barcelona last Friday on data visualizations and the challenge of truthful information.

Below 5 takeaways from the event to data journalists on their attitude towards teaching the audience to properly interprete graphs and visualizations:

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automation, chatbots, social media

Kimchi, an experimental podcast bot on Facebook Messenger from AJ Innovation

After The Guardian launched Sous-Chef, an experimental Facebook Messenger chatbot that delivers recipes, other media companies have join the bandwagon.


In the middle of this chatbot revolution, Al Jazeera launched Kimchi, a Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows users to discover, share and play podcasts:

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 17.13.04.png

Tawanda Kanhema, from Al Jazeera’s Innovation Department, explains that Kimchi is an experimental project to gather insights and data on consumer behaviour on the podcast atmosphere (inside and outside Facebook).

Kimchi has been able to deliver 480 episodes and 500 podcast to a few thousand of users that have interacted since AJ launched the bot in March.

There are several apps that help users on the discovery phase for podcasts, such as Pocket Casts or NPR. So, why is Kimchi different?

Kanhema defines Kimchi as a personal podcast assistant that allows users to easily find specific podcasts by typing keywords. Apart from subscribing to these podcasts or adding them to the queue, users can listen to these without leaving Facebook Messenger app.

As part of the machine learning that is lacking on 80% of the bots on several messaging apps, the more Kimchi is used, the more it is able to suggest personalised content.

However, Kimchi is just part of a “bigger project that will have a similar back-end to Alexa or Google Home”, says Kanhema. First step has been to gather feedback on what content are people looking for, how are they searching for this content, and when are they listening to it. Next step will be to¬†focus on basic capabilities to build a “conversational UX audio product”.

We’ll have to stay tuned for future announcements.

Do you know more examples? Let me know in the comments or at @mcrosasb