The popularity of TikTok has surged during the pandemic, and one particular “data investigation” clip has gone viral: Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from April 20 to 26 found TikTok user Rebecca fact-checking a woman’s claim about the COVID-19 quarantine and her grey hair roots. We also found the Coronavirus Fact-Checking Alliance visualizing thousands of facts they’ve checked during the pandemic; The New York Times analyzing Donald Trump’s boastful messages about the US coronavirus response; and FiveThirtyEight examining US attitudes toward the pandemic, the economy, and Trump.
COVID-19 Hair: A TikTok Investigation
TikTok has been a surprise hit during the pandemic lockdown with people sharing memes, jokes, and funny skits on the platform. One user named Rebecca, who goes by @rebabeba, took it a step further to fact-check a woman’s claim that quarantine measures are the cause of her being unable to dye her gray hair roots. According to Rebecca’s calculations, she believes the woman hasn’t dyed her hair since October 2019 — not, as she claimed, just since the lockdown measures started.
A TikTok investigation pic.twitter.com/raBSfI6Zg3
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) April 22, 2020
Visualizing Fact Checks
Led by the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute, the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance unites more than 100 fact-checking organizations around the world. To date, the alliance has published more than 3,500 fact checks in over 70 countries and more than 40 languages. Filter the fact checks by topic, clusters, and timeline in these maps.
— Alberto Cairo (@AlbertoCairo) April 24, 2020
Trump Self-Congratulates on COVID Response
Three journalists from The New York Times reviewed more than 260,000 words spoken by US President Donald Trump during the pandemic. The transcripts show striking patterns and repetitions in the messages he has conveyed, revealing a vast display of congratulatory and complimentary messages for himself which are often based on exaggerations and falsehoods.
Congratulates self: 600 times
Blames others: 110 times
Attempts empathy/unity: 160 times
-A display of presidential hubris and self-pity unlike anything historians said they have seen. w/@maggieNYT & @elainaplott https://t.co/dqxku2R7QJ
— Jeremy W. Peters (@jwpetersNYT) April 27, 2020
How Concerned Are Americans About COVID-19?
FiveThirtyEight are collecting polls measuring how concerned Americans are about COVID-19 to give us an understanding of how the population is reacting to the health crisis. It also took a look at the share of those who approve of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which varies widely by party.
This has been fairly noisy data but there has been a bit of a decline over the past several days in Americans' concern over coronavirus, although it's still very high.https://t.co/mnZkHDvJSs pic.twitter.com/XD6dnLjGJN
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 16, 2020
The True Toll of the Pandemic
According to The New York Times, at least 40,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic than the official COVID-19 death counts report. By comparing the number of people who died from all causes this year with the historical average of deaths during the same period in twelve countries, the Times was able to estimate the excess mortality for each country.
Stunning and depressing beyond words.
My colleagues visually mapped historical average death rates versus actual deaths this year.
That red line is a punch in the stomach.https://t.co/JK6Oh1QOsA
— Matina Stevis-Gridneff (@MatinaStevis) April 21, 2020
Excess COVID-19 Mortality
The Financial Times is also looking into excess mortality by reviewing data from the Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom, which showed that deaths at home and in care homes have jumped sharply during the pandemic. Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, said that the coronavirus was not given as the cause on many of the death certificates but was likely to be a direct or indirect factor. The FT’s economics editor Chris Giles explains the estimation in this tweet thread, and journalist John Burn-Murdoch offers some insights here.
The blue line is the number of people the govt says has died. The red line is the number who’ve actually died. New @ft analysis of ONS data finds 41,000 dead. More than double govt’s 17,337. https://t.co/rBxIMbJcki pic.twitter.com/wbjosYFJVx
— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) April 22, 2020
How to Handle COVID-19 Data
The International Center for Journalists is connecting journalists with health experts and newsroom leaders through a webinar series on COVID-19. In this webinar, visual journalist Davide Mancino said exact figures on those infected by COVID-19 don’t exist, but he offered ways to report on what scientists do know, and to use data visualizations to convey this information clearly and accurately to the public.
“Data we have is being gathered in an emergency situation, with no planning and different methodologies all around the world,” visual journalist @davidemancino1 told reporters #CoveringCOVID. More from our webinar on #COVID19: https://t.co/vxbBVP54cx #ddj #dataviz pic.twitter.com/fenkDvo2rb
— ICFJ (@ICFJ) April 26, 2020
Impact of COVID-19 in Mexico
The first case of COVID-19 in Mexico was confirmed on February 27. Since then, the numbers of infected increased to 15,529 cases as of April 27. El Universal looks into the magnitude of the disease in the country. You can filter cases by state, age, gender, and other medical conditions.
— El Universal (@El_Universal_Mx) April 24, 2020
Canada’s COVID-19 Data Initiative
Concordia’s Institute for Investigative Journalism launched a Canada-wide COVID-19 data project to provide free up-to-the-minute maps, audience engagement tools, and other resources for all Canadian media.
The @CU_IIJ in partnership with @caj & @esricanada launches new platform for Canadian journalists to collaborate, create & access maps & share stories. @QwheryCloud is proud to on the team that brings you this initiative.https://t.co/d0NbeIsPPu #covid19 #arcgis #dataforgood
— Matt Pietryszyn (@mattpietryszyn) April 23, 2020
History of Data Graphics
The MIT Press just released the book “The Infographic: A History of Data Graphics in News and Communications” last month. The book, written by Murray Dick, a multimedia journalism lecturer at Newcastle University, explores infographics and data visualization as a cultural phenomenon, from 18th-century print culture to today’s data journalism.
#TheInfographic explores infographics and data visualization as a cultural phenomenon, from eighteenth-century print culture to today's data journalism. Learn more: https://t.co/VY6HclBNrk#DataGraphics #InformationScience #Communications #Telecommunications pic.twitter.com/evwjtbGH3q
— MIT Press (@mitpress) April 21, 2020
Eunice Au is GIJN’s program coordinator. Previously, she was a Malaysia correspondent for Singapore’s The Straits Times, and a journalist at the New Straits Times. She has also written for The Sun, Malaysian Today, and Madam Chair.
For a look at NodeXL’s mapping on #ddj and data journalism on Twitter, check out this map.