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How to Smash an Egg


Data ViZ

The Olive is website that uses a satirical Onion-style article  to report on the biased nature of Boston Police Department's Stop and Frisk practices, developed as part of a Data Storytelling course at MIT. The satirical main text is annotated using Genius with real facts about stop and frisk practices in Boston, creating in essence two stories - the satirical story and the real story.  The site also includes a map that toggles back and forth between the real data and the satirical data. At the bottom of the article we include an explicit call to action, and a number of different options for learning more and getting involved,.

 
 

 

The data say that in 2015, 1,145 people were killed by the police in the United States. As part of a course in Data storytelling, my team wanted to tell this story because the question of how many people the police kill and who they kill has become a contentious issue. Our goal was to get people to think about the issue of police killings in a less inflammatory manner. Rather than frame the debate around culpability in individual cases, we wanted to raise the question of the broader culture in which those deaths take place. Comics are useful in kind of storytelling, because they provide a clear simple narrative that is both less threatening. Many people might look at a graph and either not be able to interpret the data or feel like it exaggerates the scale of the problem. Using personal stories, in comic book form helps to overcome some of those barriers.