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Sometimes a timeline is not a timeline, according to Len de Groot, a longtime graphics journalist. The Wall Street Journal has published a multi-line timeline covering recent events in Arab countries (below). Most timeline graphics present time in horizontal lines, with the oldest events to the left and more recent ones progressing to the right (I suppose we would do it right-to-left if we were Arab or Chinese).
Does the graphic need to be a timeline — or would a regular slideshow (or map, or whatever) be equally effective?
One of the more successful interactive timelines is 10 years old — every time I revisit this package about Winston Churchill, I am amazed all over again at how well it works.
I think the Deepwater Horizon Rig Disaster timeline (above) is much more successful than the Biggest Volcanic Eruptions (below), which skimps on details about the eruptions. Likewise, CNN’s Trapped Chilean Miners timeline (below) is better suited to its timeline interface than the recent Egyptian Protests timeline, which uses the same interface.


TimelineSetter is a new, free tool from the great folks at Pro Publica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization. Other free timeline tools were described (and linked) in a post by Alex Gamela in May 2010. A timeline shows actual spans of time, with proportional measurements for decades, years, days or hours, depending on the total time involved. But it’s quite well suited to telling the story of recent events in Libya, and it is being updated day by day.
Selecting any day loads a region map and summary of events for that day in an area above the timeline. I don’t think so — has there ever been a better illustration of the momentum of events? I built a couple of timeline templates for the presentation software and posted them on my blog.


However, I’m really flattered that you thought enough of my timeline to think I could pass for a designer! I like the way this compact layout shows us at a glance where activities have occurred, and when.
My intention was to create a resource, but to also show the potential for using prezi as a quick production tool for journalists.




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