Trina ChiassonInfographics are fast becoming a mainstay in the media world. However, creating quality, engaging graphics is costly and time consuming, with many smaller media outlets unable to embrace this new medium.

Trina Chiasson, chief executive officer of a new software company, spent years working within the media trying to boost connectivity for many nonprofit online campaigns. Her experiences have allowed her to grasp the significance of connectivity that leaves an impression and provokes a reaction.

“Imagine a world where live data streams feed into professionally-designed interactive infographics that look great on any computer screen or mobile device,” wrote Chiasson in her fellowship application. “Now imagine that news media organizations can build these interactive graphics without the need to hire designers and developers, and without the need to spend weeks constructing custom visualization tools.”

This is the purpose and the pitch behind Chiasson’s company Infoactive, which delivers interactive, and affordable graphic software that almost anyone can use.

Chiasson will be developing Infoactive and conducting research into data visualization as part of her residential fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute this fall.

Chiasson believes Infoactive’s benefits, including the ability to promote different methods of storytelling, would make it a major advantage to many companies.

The software produces graphics in 75 percent less time than creating a custom static infographic. It also dramatically reduces the cost by at least 50 percent. This affordability has been a priority for Chiasson.

“Not all newspapers have the resources to have a full-time graphics team like The New York Times,” Chiasson said. “I think there’s a real need for low cost solutions for doing the same types of interactive data exploration or even just visualizing stories in interesting ways.”

During the course of her fellowship Chiasson plans to focus on key issues to help the development of Infoactive, namely: collecting data from Web publishers, developing new technology and optimizing the user experience.

By working with RJI researchers and other fellows, and conducting research into data visualization and usability, Chiasson hopes that this will make Infoactive a stronger and more robust program.

It all comes back to connectivity — Infoactive would allow more people and companies to produce stories that are going to have an impact on viewers and readers, something that Chiasson believes passionately in.

“How do we get people to get up off of the couch and go from being passive observers of the information, to active participants and using that information to do something with it?” she asked.

For Chiasson, the solution could now be only a few clicks away.


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