Project description

In the midst of the 2018 Men\’s World Cup, I created a new chart form to visualize the drama inherent in the tournament right before the final game. I took all of FiveThirtyEight\’s predictions during each match in the tournament and visualized how the in-game probabilities told the story of how France and Croatia made it to the World Cup Final. In each of my projects, I try to tell a story through use of visuals, metaphor and design with a reliance on data which is the backbone of my work at FiveThirtyEight.

In my interactive and graphic project work, I try to include whimsy and an artistic feel while still focusing on telling a clear, concise story. In my FiveThirtyEight 2020 Endorsements Primary graphic, I built on the metaphor of a pool of possible endorsers to create a visualization that gave a sense of the scope of that \’pool\’, while making the visual actually look quite like a pool, for the delight of the reader.

In all my work I consider the importance of properly visualizing the data, and what I can do to push the boundaries of traditional chart types.

What makes this project innovative?

My project showing How France And Croatia Made It To The World Cup Final, In One Chart, is innovative because I created a chart type I had never really seen before. After I made this piece, many other people reused my innovative chart format to visualize other sports tournaments. This project was unique and especially innovative because it inspired other data journalists and pushed the data visualization field further. Other projects I've worked on have also combined data journalism with new graphic formats, creating unique pieces such as: I worked on framing geographic shifts without relying on maps and supported my data analysis and reporting with graphics.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The impact of my project was a positive contribution to the 2018 World Cup coverage, and it had lasting effects for data journalism and sports data journalism. One of those effects was the contribution of a new chart form to tournament coverage. My graphic was later used as inspiration for other graphics made about other sports tournaments including the NBA and NCAA. The visualization in my piece influenced and pushed forward data visualization by contributing new a format to the field.
Furthermore, it’s impact can be measured by the number of shares the piece received. It received more praise and retweets and engagement on Twitter than most other FiveThirtyEIght visualizations at the time and brought new audiences to the site.
The impact of the project also resulted new plans for future tournament visualizations for FiveThirtyEight. We measured the impact by how many people engaged with and shared the project online.

Source and methodology

We use ESPN sports data to create our in-match predictions model which was used in this piece to demonstrate each team's changing chance of winning the match. This piece was based off of charts I made in FiveThirtyEight's 2018 World Cup Predictions page. I took these charts, and joined them to create streams, and added photographs to enhance the story. In other pieces I work on, I collect, clean and analyze data. I then choose the chart type that fits the data and the information needed. I report and collaborate with others to come to a final visual format and written support of my story.

Technologies Used

Javascript, Adobe Illustrator, HTML, CSS, Getty Images, Photoshop. I use Javascript and Node.js to develop the initial charts, and then I created svgs so that I could work with them in Illustrator, as this is a static piece.

Project members

Rachael Dottle


Additional links


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