Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, and to put the scale of the event in context San Francisco bureau chief for New Scientist magazine and data journalist Peter Aldhous created a time-lapse animation of all large earthquakes in the last year, beginning with the 7.0-magnitude Haiti event. Peter used USGS data, R and Flash to generate the animation, and provides all the details on how it was done in this article at ReadWriteHack.
One key benefit of data journalism is putting events like the Haiti disaster into context. On a related note, Peter gave an outstanding lecture to the Bay Area R User Group in December on the topic of data journalism. Video of his presentation is now available for streaming at the Video Rchive, and is well worth checking out.