A beginner’s guide to sprint triathlons

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I recently competed in my first triathlon, and it required a lot training obviously, but less obviously, a lot of studying to feel ready for race day. I watched videos and read articles and managed to piece together what I thought I needed to know, but I didn’t really know until I finally did it. So for my diagram project, I broke down the process of participating in a sprint triathlon, specifically the transitions, which can be the trickiest part.

I wanted to go for a wilderness survival guide feel or maybe a bootcamp style, which is why I chose the dark green and simple illustrations. I really don’t consider myself an illustrator, nor do I particularly like it, so I know there is room for improvement in these. I think cohesively (and maybe from afar …) the package looks really cool, and I think it is informative.

Newspapers serve less and less people across the U.S.

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We’ve all heard print is dying, and the numbers have proved it over and over again. I was looking through newspaper data when I came across the census’s newspaper per capita data. I had never seen per capita data, nor I had I ever really thought about it before. I wanted to use this data because I thought it was really unique in comparison to the obvious decline of circulation and the like.

The large map is what shows the per capita rates per state. The darker the state, the higher rate of newspapers per capita. Most of the U.S. falls between .06–.19. In my subhead I tried to make the numbers more digestible by saying “15 newspapers per 100 people” as a translation of .15. I should have made the numbers in the key like this, too, because I think it’s easier to digest a per 100 or 1000 rate than a decimal rate. I also wish there was more up-to-date data, since the last census was in 2010. I scoured for other per capita data, but I didn’t find any.

I went back and forth on the smaller graph as to if I should show the decline in per capita rates over time or circulation over time. I decided to do circulation because it is another example of the economic crisis and decline of newspapers. It also had more recent data, so this graph is supposed to show circulation numbers after the last census.

Then, I wanted to add a local element (and I had to draw a map), so I drew Bloomington and plotted the two daily newspapers – IDS and Herald-Times – and showed their circulation. I don’t think my circles were the most helpful, though, because they aren’t actually representative of the map area or anything like that. They’re proportional but don’t actually relate to the map. The circles should have tried to cover the percentage of the population it represents. I also had trouble figuring out how to create a scale … so I didn’t. I just clarified the map wasn’t to scale.

Overall, I think the design is nice and cohesive. I struggled with hierarchy and layout for awhile, but I think it looks OK now. I wish I would have put more time into finding more understandable data.

Album sales fall while vinyl sales continue to grow

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The past decade has shown a trend named the “vinyl revival,” characterized by a surge of interest and sales of vinyl records and record players, as well as interest in record stores.
I am one of those people who are into vinyl and music as a whole, which is why I wanted to research this topic. I have a small but highly curated record collection of about 50 classic records. My boyfriend has 600 though, and I consider those mine, too (I’m sure he would happily agree). I have a dedicated section of my room with my record player, audio setup and records. I also love going to record stores, and I usually go to all the stores in an area when I travel.
Being the 10 year mark of this trend, the subject is newsworthy. It would work well in a magazine or on a music content platform but wouldn’t be as well-placed in a daily newspaper, beside a feature. If it was released around Record Store Day, then it could work in a daily paper.
There seems to have been an emphasis on collecting music data in only the last few years. Nielsen puts out a music industry report bi-yearly now, but it didn’t seem to before 2015. In the last two years, Nielsen’s music reports have become quite an elaborate package of information, stories, data, trends, visualizations – while before 2015 the reports were basic statistics on sales.
Nielsen seems to be one of the only providers of this information, but recently Buzzangle Music has put out mid-year and year-end reports on the music industry. However, Nielsen’s measurements and Buzzangle’s are not the same. Because of this, I did not mix-and-match sources within individuals graphs. I used Buzzangle’s data for the pie chart, and Nielsen for the other two. Buzzangle was more clear on separating vinyl and CDs than Nielsen. I haven’t pinpointed why the two data sets differ, but I assume it lies somewhere in the methodology.
I spent a long time looking through the years of reports and compiling the data in order to compare it. The bottom chart is a result of that, and I think it’s a very accurate reflection of how vinyl has climbed while all other album format’s sales have dropped. I wish I could have figured out how to make the graph more detailed so vinyl’s section was more readable, such as being able to see its share of 2007-2011.
This graph really surprised me because I had no idea people were abandoning albums as a whole. I want to analyze more data to try and find out why that is. It would be interesting to see how many singles and singular tracks sell in comparison to entire albums. I could have done that, but I wanted to focus more on vinyl albums and albums themselves, and chose not to bring in streaming or digital, beside in the pie chart to show the 2017 sale breakdown.
Another thing that surprised me was the top vinyl albums being sold in 2017 compared to the top albums of 2017. Every top album of mid-2017 was from 2016 or 2017, while the vinyl records only had three of 10 made in those years. That gives some insight into what vinyl sellers are buying, and shows record shoppers still value older music. It doesn’t show, however, if record shoppers are typically older or if young record shoppers are seeking out older music on vinyl.
What is always going to be missing from vinyl data, though, is how many used vinyl albums are being sold. It seems virtually impossible to track because these albums have been cycled for decades and it would depend on the self-reporting of every record store in the world. Most stores carry more than half used, sometimes only used. This missing data leaves out a great portion of vinyl sold.
Overall, I think the layout of the package is nice and cohesive. The colors are carried throughout to mean the same thing. Dark orange is vinyl – vinyl sales in 2017, top vinyl of 2017, and vinyl’s share over the decade – which appears in each graph because it is the central aspect of the package. I don’t have a reason for choosing orange, but it certainly pops.
I think I struggled with trying to create a hierarchy. I messed around with changing the weights of graphic headlines but decided to keep them consistent. I think it’s obvious the pie chart is dominant but the other two are pretty much equal. I also grappled with deciding whether to keep the pullouts equal size on the pie chart vs. the others because of the pie chart’s size. I ultimately decided to stay equal.
I think there’s a lot more to be broken down and analyzed in the music industry, but this is a brief introduction into the vinyl revival and a mid-year look at 2017.