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40 data viz interviews of 2014 - 1

Our selection of the best conversations with the leading voices of visualization and data journalism

December 13, 2014

As mentioned last week, today we begin our best of 2014 retrospectives, and if you think last year was something big, wait until you’ see what we prepared for you. We are working hard to go through the thousands of pieces of content that we brought to you during all the year, so stay tuned for the next couple of weeks until we welcome the new year.

We’re opening this series with a selection of the best interviews we published on our weekly news round up. Overall, we brought over one hundred interviews in that space, and we picked 40 that are really a must see/read. This post features the first 20, and in a couple of days we’ll get you the remaining half of this absolutely brilliant set of conversations with the leading voices of visualization and data journalism. And, of course, a quick mention to our own interview section, with its fair share of insights as well.

Of course that this – and the remaining posts to come – selection of “best of 2014″ refers to content that was featured here on Visualoop – which is only a fraction of what’s being done and written out there. Feel free to add other suggestions in the comments section.

And here are the first half of 40 data viz related interviews we recommend for your:

A one-hour conversation with Moritz Stefaner about some of his projects and explorations, pushing the boundaries of data visualization — from data sculptures to using food for representing information. We also talked with Moritz back in March.


The folks at Design Boom – one of the most active graphic design communities out there -, have talked with Giorgia Lupi, Accurat‘s design director about the studio’s work. Another interview with Giorgia that we recommend is this one, over at Opendata-Hackday

After three years, Sarah Marshall is moving from, the 15-year-old journalism news site based in the U.K., to The Wall Street Journal, where she’ll be the inaugural social media editor for news coming out of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In this interview, Sarah talks with Caroline O’Donovan about this change, the state of journalism and visual storytelling.

Interview conducted by Patrick E. Scott with one of the most well-known names in contemporany digital cartography, Andrew Hill of CartoDB and Vizzuality. Other 2014 interviews featuring Andrew: here and here.

If you follow our weekly This is Visual Journalism column, you’re probably familiar with the work being done by the team at Times of Oman and Al Shabiba. have produced stunning infographics for years on all types of topics. Infographics director (and featured Portfolio of the Week) Antonio Farach talked with Jonathon Berlin about some the team’s recent projects – a team that also includes Marcelo Duhalde.

A great interview by George Aranda with Andy Kirk, about his work and book Data Visualization: a successful design process. You might also appreciate this interview with Andy, from 2012.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden helped The New York Times “keep the public informed on what I consider to be very important matters,” says Jill Abramson, at the time still the executive editor of The New York Times, in this insightful Q&A. Later, in May, Abramson would be replaced by Dean Baquet, in one of the most shocking news of the year.

Leo Dillon heads the U.S. Governmental Geographical Information Unit, which is responsible for ensuring the boundaries and names on government maps reflect U.S. policy. He’s been at the State Department since 1986, and shares a bit of his experience with Greg Miller in this interview.

Cathy Newman talked with Will C. Van Den Hoonaard, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of New Brunswick, about his freshly released book Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography.

Fast Company spoke with Chris Wiggins, the New York Times new Chief Data Scientist, about what his role will be and how having a background in biology makes him at all qualified to lead the Times into the future.

Mitchel Resnick, PhD, is a LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and director of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab. His research group developed the “programmable brick” technology that inspired LEGO MindStorms robotics kits. More recently, the group developed Scratch, a popular programming environment for kids. In this interview, he speaks about the importance of creative learning, effective strategies for digital literacy, and the impact of initiatives to introduce computer science into more classrooms.

In this video, Jonathan Corum, the graphics editor for science at the New York Times, explains how he integrates “art and annotation” to create a unified visual story and tells us how the NYT developed a serious comic to answer the question: “What is the Higgs?”. caught up with Nicolas Belmonte of Twitter about the visualization he worked on the for the State of the Union, which tracked tweets across the U.S.

Earlier this month, in collaboration with Forum One Communications, HDC founding member Calfornia HealthCare Foundation produced a guide called “Worth a Thousand Words: How to Display Health Data,” describing case studies and best practices in health data visualization. In this interview, Andy Krackov, Senior Program Officer at CHCF, talks about what data visualization topics were meant to be tackled and goals his organization had in mind when creating the guide.

A conversation between Joseph Lichterman and Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, which she started in 2006. In this interview, they talk about her accomplishments and what she sees as the future of the open data movement.

Carlos Martínez de la Serna started working as a journalist in 1998, when he joined the Spanish newspaper El Mundo as an intern. Now, he runs “Por Causa“, a collaboration between poverty, human rights, and data experts and launched formally in July of 2013. Here, he talks with Alexis Sobel Fitts about this project and using data in the public interest and telling unexpected stories.

  • Nicholas Felton | The Great Discontent
  • Ryan and Tina Essmaker spoke with Nicholas Felton while he was knee-deep in his latest Annual Report, just weeks after the launch of his Reporter iPhone app. He shared about his path into design, his decision to focus on data visualization, his recent transition back to the East Coast after two years at Facebook, among other topics. This other interview for Designboom is also worth checking.

    The Wolfram Language will become publicly available in the next few weeks, Wolfram Research founder Stephen Wolfram promised in a recent keynote at SXSW. This interview is divided in two parts (one and two), and it covers the Wolfram language, its application to wearables and corporate data science needs, and Wolfram’s own life-logging efforts.

    Alexander Howard had a this interesting conversation with ProPublica‘s news applications developer Sisi Wei, about her work and her view of the data journalism field.

    Chris Hamby of The Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C., is one of the Pulitzer award winners this year, for Investigative Reporting. In this interview he explains the role data journalism had in his series of reports on how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners stricken with black lung disease, resulting in remedial legislative efforts.


    Time to close, but stay tuned for the second part of this selection with interviews, in just a couple of days.

    Written by Tiago Veloso

    Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.