Following on from the very successful, Buzzfeed a-like, Us vs Th3m Trinity Mirror has launched another startup style web product with Martin Belam heading things up during the initial stages (anyway I think that is the case – I’m assuming like with Us vs Th3m he is there to get things started, build an audience and then move on to a new experiment).
Ampp3d (sorry it is a dreadful name even considering the difficulties of getting domains and appropriate Twitter accounts these days) describes itself as;
“..a topical, factual data-driven site from the Daily Mirror, making journalism more accessible through data visualisations and infographics.”
Given my day job I have been interested to see what this actually involved since the teases about ‘Mysterious Project Y‘ first started on Twitter.
The idea of ‘data storytelling’ is more and more how we talk about things within my team and while we have a way to go before we have all the skills needed to really exploit that idea I am increasingly confident that it is something worth pursuing. The fact that a major media outlet is experimenting in this space only reassures me.
That said at the moment Ampp3d isn’t really what I was expecting. For the time being at least the ‘data visualisations and infographics’ are little more than stock photography with the addition of big numbers and or pretty basic charts created in the (brilliant) open source tool Datawrapper.
There is nothing wrong with that of course – some of the stories that are associated with the charts etc have been interesting and the charts are clearly being produced for sharing on social media. One of the constant discussions we have in work is the fact that sometimes the best way to illustrate the data and the story is simply a simple, well designed chart rather than an all singing, all dancing infographic or interactive visualisation. That said from a professional curiosity point of view I am interested to see whether they do more complex visualisations or whether pace to publish will be more important. Their commitment to;
..always be “in beta”
and that fact that the site is only a couple of days old means that things could change considerably and given the amazing, topical social games that the Us vs Th3m team have been able to churn out I do remain confident that the Ampp3d team will start to produce some truly interesting, interactive tools and visualisations.
I have to say that I do sometimes dream about the ability to run this sort of in-house start-up style project. Just imagine;
“..a topical, factual data-driven site from the ONS, making official statistics more accessible through data visualisations and infographics.”