Makeover Monday 2019 Week 2: Global Press Freedom

This week, we look at freedom of the press around the world. The map below categorizes each country as Free, Partly Free, or Not Free, as evaluated by Freedom House in their 2017 Freedom of the Press report.

What works well?

  • Colours are distinct and complementary. The green/yellow/purple palette coordinates well with Free/Partly Free/Not Free.
  • Using a map here is appropriate for communicating the geo-spatial relationships between countries and their level of press freedom. For example, it is immediately evident that most Not Free countries are in Africa and Asia, while the majority of North America and Europe have Free press.

What could be improved?

  • Instead of discrete categories, the press freedom score could better be shown as a continuous gradient. The underlying score is on a scale of 0-100; Not Free consists of scores from 61-100. There is a big difference between 61 and 100, yet this is impossible to see with the 3 categories shown above.
  • The map provides no indication in the change in press freedom over time. Is it getting better or worse?

What Ryan did:

  • Used the Global Peace Index for 2008-2016 (used for Makeover Monday 2016 Week 40) to identify a relationship with the Press Freedom scores. Some countries which had a Press Freedom score were not included in the Global Peace Index so these were excluded from the viz.
  • Created a scatter plot of the Global Peace Index vs Press Freedom scores for 2016.
  • Coloured the marks by region.
  • Sectioned the chart background according to the press freedom status using reference bands.
  • Used set actions and transparent sheets to show the progression for each country when a mark is clicked.

What Marc did:

  • Focused on the ten “Countries to Watch” as indicated in the original article.
  • Plotted the trend in the press freedom score for each country as small multiple time series charts.
  • Used scorecards to show the latest score for each country.
  • Borrowed the newspaper-like formatting from my earlier viz, The Changing Face of Major League Baseball.
View in Data Studio

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