Making It Public

On August 2, 2007, journalist and Oakland Post editor-in-chief Chauncey Bailey was assassinated in broad daylight just a few blocks from my downtown apartment. Although the as-yet open case seemed an example of a political murder by a group Bailey was investigating, it refocused national attention on violent crime in Oakland. Around the same time, the Oakland Tribune published Sean Connelly and Katy Newton's award-winning Not Just A Number, an interactive map of Oakland homicides ( Connelly and Newton were particularly interested in the stories behind the city's murder statistics. Where a majority of victims had previously been identified by mug shots, Not Just A Number made a special effort to contact surviving family members, friends, and neighbors to put a face on the names in the news. We were interested in publishing a service complementary to these stories that offered hard facts and current data.

We budgeted two weeks of rapid development across three people: I transformed the collected data into a web-ready service, Stamen interaction designer Tom Carden developed an immersive visual interface using Flash, and creative director Eric Rodenbeck oversaw the visual direction and accompanying language.

Our first priority for publishing information is to show everything. The home page of the Crimespotting site is a map (Figure 11-6), and the map shows all crime reports from the past week. The map is positioned ...

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