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Data journalism

Saving the oceans: with data

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Do you know how big the giant ‘garbage patch’ floating in the Pacific is? The floating ocean of trash and sludge may be a phenomenon of our treatment of the oceans but nobody really knows how big it is — with estimates ranging from 270,000 square miles to 5.8 million. Or even”the size of Texas“. The reality is the data is fuzzy — which is the kind of story that anyone who works with numbers has to face every day.

And this stuff really matters, especially with a story like this. So, what kinds of data can you use?

The Global Oceans Commission report on the future of the oceans is a manifesto for survival of an incredible natural resource. I got to work on these visualisations with fantastic NY-based graphic designer Gavin Potenza and the creative team at Comms Inc in London.

The spreads bring together facts, but in support of the overall narrative. And there is a lot of research in this area.

It’s not about including everything, rather using editorial sense to edit it down to what’s needed. It’s all about telling stories with data, but making sure the data represents numbers that are supported by research.

About Simon Rogers

Data journalist, writer, speaker. Author of 'Facts are Sacred', from Faber & Faber and a new range of infographics for children books from Candlewick. Edited and launched the Guardian Datablog. Now works for Twitter in San Francisco as Data Editor

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About me

Data journalist, writer, speaker. Author of 'Facts are Sacred', published by Faber & Faber and a new range of infographics for children books from Candlewick. Data editor at Twitter, San Francisco. Created the Guardian Datablog. All opinions on this site are mine, not my employers'. Read more >>

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