Visualizing #NICAR18, Part II

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

I posted recently about the NICAR journalism conference, held this year in Chicago — and it turns out news nerds like to tweet.

To keep track of all the conference chatter, I dumped each mention of the #NICAR18 hashtag using Python, eventually collecting some 4,100 tweets.

I used #nicar18 several times. Others were even more prolific. Here are those with more than 10 uses during the conference:

Next, I created a histogram with average #nicar18 tweet counts by hour for the three full days: Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It shows when people sent the most tweets — and that they apparently took more breaks during lunch and just before the first afternoon sessions began.

The pattern is also clear here in a more granular view of daily tweet counts by hour:

This tweet volume, which only captures people tweeting with the hashtag, was posted by attendees from across the globe. This year’s conference, as I mentioned in the previous post, had record-breaking attendance: more than 1,200.

Here’s where the attendees came from:

These types of maps are imperfect, of course, especially on mobile. For one, it’s tough to decipher attendance from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Here’s a more focused version (still a little nuclear blasty), if that helps (please note that the scale is different from the map above):

See you next year, NICARians!

Visualizing the News Nerd Conference Known as #NICAR18

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

I’m in the United States this week to attend the annual news nerd conference known as NICAR, a diverse gathering of reporters, editors and developers (and others) focused on storytelling with data.

I look forward to it like Christmas.

I get to return to the United States, see old friends, learn new skills and drink Diet Coke, which is nearly impossible to find in South Korea, where I work as a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

These basic graphics help explain the event, held this year in Chicago.

First, there’s record-breaking attendance* this year:

The event has more than 200 sessions over five days, from the basic use of spreadsheets in news gathering to the construction of complex news applications — and the organizers (who graciously share data about the conference) categorized them by type:

The conference generally has a mix of skills sets and expertise levels, which is evident in the session categories:

There are people here from almost every American state and from numerous countries around the world. My jet lag brain is still working through how to best visualize that, perhaps in a map. I’ll post something soon.

Image courtesy Allen McGregor via Wikipedia Commons.

Jobless Claims at Five-Decade Low

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Economy & Finance

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits hasn’t been this low since Richard Nixon was president, according to new data from the U.S. Labor Department.

The figures suggest a tight labor market in which employers are retaining employees because there aren’t as many available qualified workers, Bloomberg reported:

Overall, the employment picture remains solid, with payrolls continuing to increase and the unemployment rate at the lowest since late 2000. Job growth will help sustain consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy.

Here’s a remix of Bloomberg’s chart, which game me an excuse to finally deploy something with “swoopy” annotation (thanks, Adam!):

Image courtesy @bytemarks via Creative Commons.

How China’s Economic Retaliation Hurt the South Korean Tourism Industry

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Economy & Finance, Social Media

I wrote this week about the one-year anniversary of China’s economic retaliation against South Korea over the THAAD missile system, a defensive weapon designed to stop North Korea’s medium-range missiles.

China objects to it and has been flexing its economic muscle in protest, carrying out an aggressive campaign of economic retaliation that includes sending fewer tourists. In 2017, just over 4 million Chinese visited South Korea, down from roughly 8 million a year earlier after several years of steady growth.

These charts show the effect on the South Korean tourism industry, which has grown to depend heavily on China. This first example helps show China’s increasing share among all tourists who visit South Korea. In 2016, for example, nearly half of all visitors were Chinese — way up from a decade ago:

This chart reflects the annual total visitors by Chinese since 2000. Until last year, annual growth had average nearly 30%, even with the 2015 MERS outbreak in South Korea, which caused hundreds of thousands — likely millions — of Chinese to stay away. You can see how the figure dropped dramatically in 2017:

And, finally, we look at the monthly data, which spikes during peak summer months. The effect of MERS is again evident, as is the significant drop in tourists after the Chinese implemented travel restrictions last March:

Tracking Historical Twitter Followers: @elisewho vs. @stiles

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Social Media

My wife (@elisewho) and I (@stiles) had a silly social media moment yesterday when I replied to one of her tweets — despite the fact that she was sitting in an adjacent room of our Seoul apartment.

USC professor Robert Hernandez (a.k.a. @webjournalist) captured it:  

The exchange, which we both “liked”, got me thinking (resenting?) about why she is killing me in Twitter followers — even though we’ve been using the service for nearly a decade.

It’s not even close, according to snapshots captured by The Wayback Machine (which didn’t start tracking me until I’d been on Twitter for years):

You can track your own follower counts over time with this tool.

Who’s Competing at Pyeongchang? A Breakdown By Sports, Nations, Genders

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: South Korea, Sports

More than 2,900 athletes from 92 nations and territories are competing in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The event has 15 different sports (and many events within each). Which sports have the most athletes? Hockey, which requires a 23-person roster, leads the list, followed by largely individual sports, such as alpine and cross-country skiing:

Here’s how those sports break down by the number of competing countries. Again, alpine skiing is a main draw:

Here’s a breakdown of participation in each sport by gender:

And, finally, a look at how each continent is represented proportionally by sport:

Image courtesy South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Which Countries Sent the Most Athletes to Pyeongchang?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: North Korea, South Korea, Sports

Because I live in Seoul and work as a journalist, I’m paying close attention to the Winter Olympics as they open tonight in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

I don’t know much about the Winter Games’ history, so I decided first to research which countries are here. Europe dominates:

Here’s a world map (Russia has many athletes here, but they’re not eligible for medals because of a doping scheme):

And a table, so you can look up specific countries (there are 93 in total).

Visualizing the Historical Relationship Between White, Black Unemployment Rates

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Economy & Finance

President Trump was right last month when he bragged that black unemployment rate was at a historical low. The rate in December was 6.8 percent, the lowest it’s been since 1972 (though it ticked back up nearly a percentage point last month).

But the president’s statement excluded some important context about the historic movement of this rate by race and ethnicity. I’ve tried to explain in these graphics.

First, here are four rates — all groups, black, Hispanic and white — since Ronald Reagan was in office. The early 1980s, as you can see, were pretty rough. Things have gotten better, both in terms of the rate during recessions and recoveries, and all groups have improved together as a pattern since the Great Recession:

Whether you believe a president can have any short-term effect on unemployment or not, a key point is that these rates rise and fall together. They are quite strongly correlated. In about 90 percent of the months since 1980, for example, a relationship existed between movement in the white and black rates. This correlation is slightly less strong under Democratic presidents, for whatever reason:

Even though the black rate is relatively low today, it has historically been about 2-2.5 times higher than the white rate.

Image courtesy Wikimedia/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Visualizing Income Equality in Major World Economies

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Economy & Finance, South Korea

Years after a global crisis, the world’s largest economies are again growing, The New York Times reported over the weekend.

Every major economy on earth is expanding at once, a synchronous wave of growth that is creating jobs, lifting fortunes and tempering fears of popular discontent.

A tweet on the subject prompted a friend to respond with a question about whether income inequality has grown — and that in turn prompted a quick exploration of data provided by the World Bank.

One of its many indicators is the GINI index, which measures income distribution by country and creates a score. A 0 score means absolute equality, and 100 represents absolute inequality.

These data, based on country-by-country surveys, are imperfect and incomplete, with most countries missing several years of data. The United States, for example, had only five annual estimates in the last two decades. South Korea, where I live now, had only four. Strangely, a few smaller countries had more complete data. Honduras had all but one year, for example.

Given these limits, I focused on the top-25 economies, some of which were missing scores. In these cases, I carried over the most-recent data to maintain a consistent, if imprecise, trend line.

The data are interesting in some cases. Here are the countries, listed in order of their gross national product rankings:

The Curious Case of South Korea’s Vanishing Washing Machine Exports

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Economy & Finance, South Korea

The Trump administration last week announced that it planned to impose higher fees, known as tariffs, to countries that export washing machines and solar panels the United States.

The tariffs, prompted by complaints from American companies who feel disadvantaged by global trade, were applied across the world — even though they seem primarily aimed at two nations who dominate the market: China and South Korea.

That’s in part because both countries have moved their manufacturing around to avoid such duties. In South Korea’s case, the change in strategy by companies like LG and Samsung seems remarkably obvious in trade data — on washing machines, in particular.

A bit of background: The U.S. Census Bureau keeps detailed data on specific product exports, by country, to the United States. The data reflect the total export value by year and national origin — where the ships came from, essentially — not by companies’ home countries. So Samsung products made in China and exported from China look like Chinese exports.

This graphic shows one possible scenario for how the strategy played out. Washing machine exports from South Korea to the United States dropped dramatically, for example, after a complaint filed in late 2011 by Whirlpool, an American manufacturer. A year later, exports from China increased significantly (and have since fallen, perhaps reflecting other shifts in manufacturing locations, such as Southeast Asia, Mexico and/or the United States itself).

The Times’ story noted the South Korean companies’ concerns:

Samsung and LG described Whirlpool’s case as a protectionist grab designed to shut out products that American consumers find more attractive, and argued that such restrictions on their products would hurt consumers by raising prices.

The export change appears to be because South Korean washing machine companies moved their operations to China during 2013 — and later the the United States — perhaps in an effort to avoid the complaints or looming tariffs. Or because the change was good business for the companies.

Anyway, the data seems pretty obvious: