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40 insightful data viz interviews of 2014 - 2

Check out part 2 of our selection of the best conversations with the leading voices of visualization and data journalism

December 16, 2014

Welcome to the second part of this 2014 recap post, where we gathered 40 of the many interviews with experts and leading voices of the fields of visualization, cartography and data journalism, that we had the chance to feature in our weekly data viz news round ups. If you missed the first half, it’s available here.

With this selection, we hope to provide you with a a general overview of what happened in these fields throughout this year that is about to come to an end, and you’ll get to know a bit about the use of visualization in fields such as astronomy, biology – and even in the kitchen!

You’ll notice as well a good number of mentions to the field of data journalism, which was also one of the “stars of 2014″, not only due to the new ‘players’ (FiveThirtyEight, Vox, The UpShot, and so on)), but also thanks to an increasing number of excellent pieces of data-assisted reporting and storytelling.

Here’s the remaining half of our selection of 40 insightful data viz interviews of 2014:

Alyssa Goodman – who we mentioned here, in 2012 – is a Professor of astronomy at Harvard University and a Research associate at Smithsonian Institution. She talks about her amazing experience as astronomer and about the data visualization as the next frontier in astronomy and astrophysics.


Alexander Howard spoke recently with Scott Klein, assistant managing editor at ProPublica, about what the current state of the data journalism world. Alberto Cairo also wrote about this interview here. A couple of months later, Tow Center’s Smitha Khorana spoke with Scott, and Al Shaw, news application developer at ProPublica,the editorial decisions and satellite imagery used in the special piece “Losing Ground”.

One more interview coming out the Tow Center for Digital Journalism‘s website, and again by Alexander Howard. This time, he spoke with Tasneem Raja, the interactive editor at Mother Jones Magazine.

A conversation with Angélica “Momi” Peralta Ramos, one of the persons responsible for the brilliant data journalism efforts coming out the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion.

The Boston Globe’s head of infographics, Chiqui Esteban, gave a quick tour through some of the Globe’s recent works. Interview conducted by Jonathon Berlin. Also don’t miss some of Globe’s works Chiqui shared with us recently, and this interview from when he was about to move to Boston.

And now for something tasty: a Q&A with the creators of the the workshops Data Cuisine, Moritz Stefaner and curator Susanne Jaschko from prozessagenten, process by art and design.

Dean Meyers had the chance to meet Phil Simon, author of The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions to talk about the book, his own story, and how the Visual Organization uses data visualizations. Another good interview with Phil is this one for Information Week, conducted by Shane O’Neill.


To get an inside look at how Bloomberg’s Visual Data team work internally, how the visualizations they produce fit into the organization’s strategy and how they measure the performance of those visualizations, Drew Skau interviewed team leaders Timothy L. O’Brien, publisher of Bloomberg View, Lisa Strausfeld, co-head of Bloomberg Visual Data, and interactive designer Jeremy Diamond.

As we reported in Data Viz News [57], Alexander B. Howard produced a comprehensive and very well-received report on data journalism, “The Art and Science of Data-Driven Journalism” (pdf). Meagan Doll talked with Howard about the report and what educators should take away from it.

Interview with Juan Velasco, about why we need data visualization, what it takes to create great infographics, and what it was like to work at National Geographic – and includes, obviously, a bunch of amazing infographics. You might also want to check the one we did with him, also in this second semester of 2014.

(image: National Geographic)


A fun and engaging Q&A between Francis Gagnon and Andy Kirk, moving away from the traditional questions often asked in these types of interviews.

Clement Valla, a Brooklyn-based new media artist and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) professor, explores the underlying processes that produce contemporary maps. Ben Valentine conducted this interview.

Even if there was absolutely no connection with data visualization – which is not the case here -, an interview with xkcd‘s Randall Munroe is always a must-read. Here, Walt Hickey talks with Randall about the new book expanding on his recurring “What If?” series.

Journalist’s Resource recently caught up with Sarah Cohen to ask about the knowledge she’s developed both in the classroom and in the field. Sarah is a leading practitioner and educator in the field of data journalism, and she now serves as both editor of computer-assisted reporting at the New York Times and board president of Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE).

The new frontier of data journalism is helping journalists and bloggers create compelling stories. In an interview for theCUBE at the Tableau Conference last week, Tableau Software, Inc. Senior Product Marketing Manager Ben Jones discussed the rise of data journalism and why he believes it’s going to become just another part of the way journalists do their work. And check out the other videos of this Tableau Conference series – like this other conversation, with Dan Murray and Thomas Minnick.


John Niedermeyer is the Deputy Director of Digital News Design at the New York Times. While at SND Frankfurt, he spoke with Adam Baumgartner about his role in producing quality design that preserves the Times’ legacy in a digital environment.

How can designers, developers and journalists collaborate to create stunning data journalism products? Do journalists need to code? And how does a typical workflow for Bloomberg data visualizations look like? Read this interview with Jeremy Scott Diamond, a data visualization specialist for the Bloomberg Visual Data team, and you will know the answers.

Alberto Cairo shares this interview with our friend Manuel Lima ( and, made by students from UM’s School of Communication. Lima visited UM on Thursday, September 18 to present at the Places&Spaces lecture series.


Visual journalism is not only about infographics or photography – drawings can also be used to tell a compelling story. Our friend Richard Johnson has been doing it for a while now, at The Washington Post, with a special coverage “Drawing up the Drawdown – the central topic of this interview. You can also see some of Richard’s infographic work, from the time he was at the National Post.


When Martin Krzywinski took a systems administrator job at Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Center, he didn’t plan on becoming a pioneer of 21st century biological data visualization. But that’s what happened.


Hope you enjoyed this list, and this was just the first one of this end of 2014. We’ll be publishing more recaps with our favorite infographics, maps and visualizations, new tools, keynote presentations and much more.

Written by Tiago Veloso

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