New York is…

…coming soon. 

I can’t believe I’ll be living and working in New York City in six weeks. Seriously. When people ask me what my post-grad plans are (which happens with increased frequency as we approach graduation), it almost sounds like I’m lying when I tell them that on June 20 I’ll be sitting at a desk in the New York offices of The Huffington Post. Even the part about the desk doesn’t seem real. For the past four years, I’ve owned college. Not to brag or anything, but I’m really good at college. I made stellar grades, got involved, received some honors and made a ridiculous amount of friends. If college were a career, I would definitely be up for a serious promotion to upper management.

But in just a few weeks, I won’t be “doing college” anymore. In fact, I won’t be in school at all. For the first time in 17 years, I won’t have to measure my summer by the break from classes and homework. Instead, August will come and go and I’ll just keep on working. The weather will change, but my life won’t. And I think that’s the scariest part. But at the same time, it’s exciting. It feels like the air around me is charged with energy, like the fear and doubt that are oozing from my pores at an alarming rate are being instantly vaporized, converted magically into the positive ions of possibility and hope and potential.

To be honest, I’m terrified I won’t be as good at “real life” as I was at “doing college.” I’m scared to have the work I produce be seen (and critiqued) by a national audience on the (notoriously fickle and often times bitter) Internet. I’m scared I’ll get lost in the subway, get mugged in an alley, pay too much for rent, put strain on my relationship as I struggle with distance, etc. But I can’t do anything about that now. I’m committed, and I’m going to do the best I can.

If you would like to follow along as I take one of the most incredible (and incredibly terrifying) journeys of my life, you can visit my newly-established blog New York is… There I plan to chronicle all of the ups and downs of starting an adult life in the most exciting city in the world. It’s going to be quite an adventure.

I welcome any and all of your words of encouragement in the comments!


Back On Track or The Return of Sports Graphics

After a brief vacation from the world of sports infographics, I returned today with a graphic I put together for KBIA Sports Extra. We did a piece on the new BBCOR baseball bats at the beginning of the season, and we wanted to revisit the numbers at the season’s halfway point. Click the image below to read the full story over at KBIA Sports Extra.


Fun With Census Data or Another Non-Sports-Related Graphic

As I mentioned before, I’m working on an independent study in infographics at the Columbia Missourian this semester, so much of my graphics free time has been devoted to slaving away on Census-related projects. Aside from producing half of the graphics for the recent “Progress Edition,” which featured all sorts of Census-related stories, I also put together an interactive graphic for the Web package. It actually turned out to be pretty cool. After getting some initial help with the shape files from the always wonderful Pat Sweet, I threw the illustration into Flash and recycled some ActionScript code from an old interactive project. The map shows the growth of Columbia, Mo.’s city boundaries every ten years (with a few exceptions) since its creation. You like?


Click the image to view the full interactive version.


Election Affection

When I’m not in sports nerd mode and whipping out baseball- and football-themed infographics, I live my second life as an avid follower of politics. This parlays nicely into this semester’s independent study the Columbia Missourian, as a lot of what I’ve worked on has been government- and election-related.

This Tuesday marked an election day in Columbia, and though the races were incredibly exciting or significant, we have a duty to present the results to our readers.

So, ArcView and GIS whiz Pat Sweet and I put together an interactive graphic that showcased the election results. You can find the interactive version by clicking on the image below!


It’s almost spring, which means it’s time for baseball

This was a week full of creation for me. I cranked out two graphics in five days, and I walked away very pleased with both products. The first was frivolous and artsy, and the second was productive and detailed. Both were, in my opinion, representative of my interests and skill set, and I’m very proud of both for very different reasons. I won’t write too much about them right now, as I would prefer to let the work speak for itself. Instead, I’ll just give a brief synopsis of each:

1. PLAY BALL – Monday marked the first Spring Training game for many MLB teams, and I wanted to create something to celebrate the day. I wanted to push my “design” boundaries a bit, so I tried to create something more artistic and less informative.

 

2. NCAA Bats – As part of my capstone project with KBIA Sports Extra, I took a look at the NCAA’s new regulations for metal baseball bats. The rule change went into effect at the beginning of the season, and is having a major impact on the game already. This graphic required a lot of detail and even more research.


Fun With Résumés: A Job Search Experiment

Ever have one of those weeks where everything seems to just pile up? It’s like the universe has aligned in some conspiratorial way, and suddenly every test, paper, project and presentation that could possibly be assigned is due within a 72-hour window. That was this week for me, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any more stressful…I checked the due date of a very important job application and realized that it, too, was due smack dab in the middle of “Panic Attack Week 2011.” Great.

After realizing that I needed to quickly figure out which work samples I would submit, it hit me that I needed to update my résumé. It had been awhile since I had touched it, and it was due for a pretty drastic overhaul. So, instead of going to bed at a decent hour on Monday night, I stayed up crafting something new. I had been trying to figure out how to spice up my résumé for quite some time, so I was pretty pleased with what I came up with. It spoke to my creative side while at the same time still informing the potential employer of my skills and experience. Below is the first draft, which I completed around 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Like I said, I was pretty happy with it. It was unique and inventive, colorful and creative. It showcased my design skills well, too, which was a bonus since the position I was applying for required a lot of that kind of thing*. My next step was to do what any reasonably plugged in journalism student would do: poll the masses via the Internet. I posted a link to the picture in a tweet, and quickly got a lot of good feedback. I even had a friend who works at the campus design center and sells some of his art on Etsy give me a call to talk things over. He was also kind enough to send me a few nice, new fonts.

After considering everybody’s opinions, I sat down last night and made some significant revisions. I was able to incorporate all of the suggestions I received while still keeping the original spirit of my design. Below is the current draft, which I finalized this morning around 12:30 a.m.

It’s a lot less in-your-face, and I think the blue has a nice calming effect. I also lost the drop shadows and gradients, which gives it a cleaner look overall, and I swithced up the font to something a bit blockier.

So, what do y’all think now? Do  you miss the Taste The Rainbow color scheme of the original? Or do you prefer the Ocean Breeze theme I’m rocking now? I’m always open to comments and criticism, so feel free to share your thoughts.

*I don’t plan on using this résumé for every job application, as I don’t really think it’s an appropriate “all purpose” résumé. For more traditional positions I have a more traditional résumé, which you can download as a .pdf over on my personal website.


The Internet giveth, and the Internet taketh away

When I started working for KBIA Sports Extra this semester, I vowed to get outside of my comfort zone. I had gotten so accustomed to making sports graphics that it was almost second nature, so I wanted to make sure I branched out and did more writing and photography in my new gig. I managed to stay away from graphics for the first quarter of the semester, but this week I caved. One of Mizzou’s star basketball players, Marcus Denmon, reached 1,000 career points. Naturally, my first thought was that it would make a great graphic. So, I found a list of Mizzou’s “1,000 Point Club” on the athletics department website, and I threw together a graphic.

Almost immediately it got some love on Twitter and was linked on the most popular Mizzou sports blog on the Internet, RockMNation.com. Let the ego-stroking commence. Only problem was (unbeknownst to me), that list hadn’t been updated in nine years. NINE YEARS! I think that’s pretty unacceptable on behalf of the athletic department. But, what I did was more unacceptable: I didn’t fact check. And the result of my lapse in attention? Eight names were left off the list. Some of them could have easily been overlooked, but others were recent players (who played, you know, in the last nine years) and people noticed their absence quickly.

Luckily, the point man on our team caught on pretty quickly and got ahold of me as soon as he could. He sent me the list of corrections, and I updated the graphic within the hour. However, we lost our spot on the front page of RMN in the meantime, and probably a considerable chunk of site traffic. But, it was a learning experience, and that’s why I’m in school. I won’t make the same mistake again, and I know that if I ever want something fact-checked, I should release it to a fanatical Internet sports community first.

Check out the (updated) graphic:


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