NYT uses R to investigate NFL draft picks

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Last week, the New York Times published online an interactive tool to explore NFL draft picks, revealing the fact that there's not much relationship between an early pick and the star performers in the season:

NYT draft picks

Kevin Quealy, graphics editor at the NYT, detailed the process behind creating this graphic on his chartsnthings blog. He and others on the graphics team used the R language to rapidly sketch many different options before this final version was settled upon, and it's fascinating to see the creative process in action. The resolution and space afforded by the print edition allowed for an even more information-dense graphic; compare the detail of the final print version (below, top) with the R version (below, bottom):

NYT print NFL draft

NYT print NFL R

The Times regularly uses R to develop its online and print data visualizations. Other recent examples include investigations of the Facebook IPO, the wealthiest 1% of Americans, and Mariano Rivera’s pitching prowess. You can find the details of how these and other visualizations were created with R at the chartsnthings blog, linked below.

chartsnthings: Charting Skill and Chance in the N.F.L. Draft (via Sharon Machlis)

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