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The Pudding is Changing Journalism with Visual Storytelling

Data visualization and visual journalism have been developing as far back as the Pleistocene era, with the location of stars visualized on the walls of caves. In 1982, Edward Tufte, a pioneer in the field of data visualization, self-published his book “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.” As a primary organizer of The Exhibit of American Negroes at the Exposition Universelle held between April and November 1990, W. E. B. Du Bois and his pioneering group of Black sociologists created data visualizations examining institutionalized racism. Their work was later published as “W. E. B. Du Bois's Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America.” Recently, visual journalists have risen to popularity, such as Mona Chalabi and Allison McCann

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As the digital media age continues to grow, our attention span shrinks. More and more people prefer receiving news via social media and are looking to consume content that is easiest to understand and as fast as possible. Now more than ever, data visualization and visual journalism are integral to captivate readers. Younger generations are becoming interested in being aware of what is happening in the world around them and are easily enticed by humor. This is where The Pudding comes into play. 

The Pudding describes itself as “a digital publication that explains ideas debated in culture with visual essays.” Founded in January 2017 and currently comprised of eight full-time journalists-engineers, The Pudding is changing journalism with visual storytelling that combines niche topics with impressive data demonstration.  

A few weeks ago, their A.I. bot that brutally roasts people’s Spotify listens went viral. How Bad Is Your Spotify? Is an A.I. that will call you out for being an insufferable Ariana Grande stan, roll it’s figurative speaking eyes at your Glee cast playlist and pick up at the alarming amount of One Direction. It described my Spotify listens as movie-soundtrack-folklore-dumbledore-witch-pop bad, and I can’t be mad at the accuracy. 

[bf_image id="mzt9b8sc7mgxwkfnv6ghxt"] The Pudding covers topics ranging from entertainment to politics to social issues in engaging and imaginative ways. Their goal is to advance public discourse with well thought out research that is fun and easily digestible for the everyday reader. They have worked on articles about The Language of CongressWomen's Issues Within Political Party Platforms, and How Officer Complaints are Investigated. These topics are overwhelming and confusing if they were only covered through written reports. However, because The Pudding combines journalism with appealing data visualization, they can say less and illustrate more. 

The Pudding is also great at presenting niche topics in inventive ways. If you are a fan of sitcoms, The Pudding has analyzed ‘The Office’ Dialogue in Five Charts and, Every Time Someone Says Cool in ‘Community’. If you’re a sports fan wanting An Illustrated Guide to Masked Wrestlers, a broadway fan wanting to see An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton, or interested in knowing how many times your name is used in songs? The Pudding has something for everyone. 

Lidia (She/Her) is a junior majoring in Digital Communications and Media. When she is not petting dogs on the sidewalk or re-watching Harry Potter, she is scribbling away on any surface she can find. Lidia is passionate about writing critical and culturally relevant content.
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