The New York Times' Josh Katz, on "the Dialect Map"

The New York Times' Josh Katz, on "the Dialect Map"

Posted by Jun Zhao

Updated: Jun 11, 2014



Many thanks  go to Data Visualization New York, who organized this great event.



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Meetup announcement:


Josh Katz is a graphics editor with the New York Times' new politics and policy website, The Upshot, and received his MS in Statistics from North Carolina State University.  His interests include spatial statistics, epidemiological modeling, data visualization and information design. You can follow him on Twitter at @jshkatz.


Josh Katz, Graphics Editor at The New York Times, joined us on June 10 to discuss one of his projects, the "Dialect Map".  He discussed how spatial statistics, data visualization and information design all came together in this news media piece, plus just a little bit about the nature of News Viz at the Gray Lady.

The Dialect Map project began last summer as a survey of local dialect during Josh's graduate studies in statistics, and within just the last 11 days of 2013, became the Times' most popular content of the entire year. From the survey results, Josh created a series of maps depicting regional dialect variation in the US, which set off a sensation on the Internet and in popular media. From this, he developed the New York Times' dialect quiz, turning what began as an exercise in spatial statistics and data visualization into some of the most-viewed content in NYT history.

In his talk, Josh delved into the background and development of the dialect maps and quiz--the story in general, as well as the math behind them. He talked about how data visualization and statistics could be used to illustrate the hidden contours of our world, extricating narrative from numbers and turning data into stories.

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