Ruling Time in a Knight Lab

In any field, the skill to able to visually present data in a way that allows readers to engage with the data is a paramount skill. In the field of journalism especially, as timelines and the chronology of facts are just as much part of the story of record, as the reported story is. Northwestern University created a whole open-source suite of tools that helps content creators integrate interactive elements to their media. This allows content creators and journalists alike a way to present a timeline of facts for an article to accompany a story as an embed (or standalone page) as a TimeLine JS timeline.

Timeline JS has a four-part process, where students just have to add a Google Sheets template and fill in the sheet with the data they want to have presented in their timeline; and then upload the publish link back to the Knight Lab. The result is as the sheet is updated; so does the timeline.

Once set up, the Google Sheet can be shared between students or even a class to collaborate in the timeline’s creation. But the lack of a traditional user interface, customizable styles, and reliance on media to be already linkable on the web can cause some frustrations for the more creative user.

Sample Timeline

Sample embed code for WordPress

<iframe src='YOUR-FULL-TIMELINE-URL-withTheZoom=1#height=aNumber' 
width='1000' height='800' frameborder='0'></iframe>

Knight Lab: TimeLine JS Tutorial