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January 6, 2019

Makeover Monday: How Has Press Freedom Changed Around the World?

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For week 2, Eva chose this visualization from Freedom House about the changing freedom of press in countries around the World.

What works well?

  • The colors contrast well and represent the values well (i.e., green = good, etc.).
  • The map zooms in nicely as you select a region across the top.
  • Good tooltips
  • The white borders around each country make them easy to distinguish.
  • Using dots to represent the small islands.

What could be improved?

  • Without using the zoom feature, small countries are very hard to see.
  • The title doesn't really tell me what the data map is about.
  • You can't see trends over time. In other words, you don't know if the press are getting more or less free.
  • There are no definitions for what the scores mean, unless you hover over a country.

What I did

  • I started by building a trellis chart that showed every country and its score over time. It was so messy and crowded so I scrapped it.
  • I wanted to see the overall trends, so I focused on the percentage of countries within each year that fall into each status.
  • I used the same color palette.
  • I wanted to show the change vs. 1993, so I included that as text on the end of each line.

I found this to be a particularly interesting, and a bit alarming data set. According to this data, the Press are becoming less free. That's not good for democracy.

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