Humble pie: helping the Guardian chart big stories through small details

Alastair Dant (Guardian News and Media)
Location: Murray Hill Suite A Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Nowadays, major news events prompt millions of responses online. Every message passing through the internet has a voice. Aggregate analysis and visualization helps us see the roar of the crowd.

The Guardian first explored this last year with an award-winning graphic that replays World Cup games , condensing 90 minutes of tweets into 90 seconds of interactive animation. By juxtaposing match events with surges in word popularity, viewers can relive the ripples of human reaction passing through Twitter.

Asked to apply similar techniques to the News International saga, we partnered with Datasift to capture and display public responses during key events in the story. This talk steps through the process of recording, processing and displaying a large volume of tweets which enabled a small team to build complex pieces of interactive content at newsroom speeds.

Above all, the presentation will aim to portray the delicate balance of design, data and storytelling at the heart of interactive news content.

Alastair Dant

Guardian News and Media

As interactive lead at the Guardian, Alastair has played games with the UK budget, created one of Steve Jobs’ favourite iPad apps, visualised the Wikileaks war logs and played ball with Twitter.

This builds on two decades of tinkering, encompassing early dalliances with BASIC, architecting popular kids games and involvement with art pieces like the Folk Songs Project.

Having won a few awards for his Guardian work, he’s recently been given the chance to build a small team aimed at pushing the boundaries of interactive news development. This has led to a series of talks at conferences and user groups around the UK and the US.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Marnie Landon
Marnie Landon
09/22/2011 8:20am EDT

Hope someone tops up the trust fund so you can stay on the cutting edge. Interesting stuff. Thanks


  • Aster Data
  • EMC Greenplum
  • GE
  • Lexis Nexis
  • MarkLogic
  • Tableau Software
  • Cloudera
  • DataStax
  • Informatica
  • DataSift
  • Splunk
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Datameer
  • Impetus
  • Karmasphere
  • MapR Technologies
  • Pervasive
  • Platform Computing
  • Revolution Analytics
  • Sybase
  • Xeround
  • Media-Science
  • Platfora

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information on sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Susan Stewart at

Press & Media

For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at

Contact Us

View a complete list of Strata Contacts