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

  • Jun 10, 2014 · 6:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

There's a tiny little news organization that happens to be headquartered in the county of New York. They do some DataViz now and again. Perhaps you've heard of them?

This Meetup, we'll be joined by one of the fine, fine graphics artisans from that humble organization, known to the literary set as "The Gray Lady", and to the Twitterverse as "NYT". That artisan created the breakout DataViz hit of 2013. 


About the Talk

Josh Katz, Graphics Editor at The New York Times, is joining us on June 10 to discuss one of his projects, the "Dialect Map".  He'll discuss 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 will delve into the background and development of the dialect maps and quiz--the story in general, as well as the math behind them. He'll talk about how data visualization and statistics can be used to illustrate the hidden contours of our world, extricating narrative from numbers and turning data into stories.

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


About the Event

As usual, we'll start refreshments at 6:30pm with time to network, catch up and meet new people with interests in data visualization. The formal presentations will begin around 7:00pm and there will be time for Q&A afterwards.  So please join us for these excellent presentations, the best DataViz networking in New York, and some light refreshments.

Please note: only those with confirmed RSVP's will be able to attend, because of security requirements at the space that generously hosts & sponsors us. Reservations will close at 4:00pm the day of the event. If you aren't able to get a slot by then, we apologize, but you won't be able to enter the building. For this reason, we've expanded the number of RSVP's we accept, to account for no-shows and to make sure we fill as many of our seats as possible. But, please cancel as early as possible to make room for other attendees. Thanks for understanding, and see you there!

-Paul & Christian

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  • Eugene Y.

    Big Data Analytics nabs 1,000 corrupt LIRR employees, 1 billion stolen. Was the data killed the beast. Forensic Analytics for good.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shangxuan Vivian Z.

    I scheduled a follow up hack session based on this topic on July 22th. . I will tell you all you should know about choropleth map in R to make Dialet map. We will start from the data scraping step to build the database of the survey, then we will march to the shiny development including functions for map plotting. Finally we will establish a fully developed shiny application demonstrating the dialect map project.

    July 14, 2014

  • Shangxuan Vivian Z.

    The video and photos are edited and shared through our newsletter. Check it out:

    June 16, 2014

  • Andrew M.

    Wonderful event. Nice to meet the man behind the maps and learn a little about the secrets of smoothing with Shiny and R.

    June 11, 2014

  • Danielle J.

    Josh Katz gave an excellent presentation. I thought he struck a nice balance between technical explanation and telling the story. It was really informative and inspiring.

    June 11, 2014

  • Ying L.

    It's nice to see how R graphics can be applied to news report. And it will be better to dig the information behind a nice picture.

    June 10, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Always ready to tackle tough questions, Josh Katz had a short presentation and lots of insight. Thanks!

    June 10, 2014

  • Greg W.

    Any chance some of the presentations will be recorded? I have to leave town that same afternoon.

    2 · June 3, 2014

  • Guy M.

    Im the VP @ StatSocial, I am excited to attend, I also am the Organizer for #SDBB Meet-Up (Social Data Best & Brightest.

    June 9, 2014

  • Darjan H.

    I am arriving to New York just on the 15th of June. Does anyone have suggestions on what places in NYC I should visit AS an information and data visualization enthusiast? Museums with nice visualizations? Is there a list with must visit places and companies,.... Thank you!

    June 1, 2014

  • Andres F.

    Sounds like a terrific event. I teach data viz at NYU and at the AMA. Looking forward to an interesting evening.

    June 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm really looking forward to this. The dialect data Josh originally used has been around for years, but Josh's visualization make it fresh. And then he collected new data!

    And may I now offer a few CORRECTIONS: The "county" of Manhattan is actually New York county. The borough is named Manhattan. Also, the Times is commonly referred to as the "Gray Lady" not the "Grey Lady."

    1 · May 30, 2014

    • Christian L.

      I still prefer the look of 'grey', but I concede the point on common usage. :-)

      May 30, 2014

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