Big Data, big deal: Our January 2016 cover

Big Data, big deal: Our January 2016 cover

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But in the world of words and images, asking to reprint is right up there.

That’s why I was pleased to hear from the folks at the very smart and often witty Lawyerist.com. Those talented people spotted out January issue and said, We gotta have some of that.

gotta have it

Great content has to be shared.

OK, it was more office-appropriate than that. But you get the picture. Click here to see where the Lawyerist has featured the article by Melissa Kovacs.

For people wondering how that kind of wonderful happens, the recipe is simple:

1. Work with super-smart writers like Melissa Kovacs, who could describe a topic like Big Data in a way that even I could understand it.

My approach with very smart authors ... Treat me like a 4 year old ed99fb00-2c0b-0132-3ff8-0ebc4eccb42f

My approach with very smart authors …

2. Ensure that the article is a reasonable length, one that does not kill forests or cure insomnia. (Again, all Melissa.)

Dr. Melissa Kovacs crushed it in our January issue.

Dr. Melissa Kovacs crushed it in our January issue.

3. Find a way to feature it in visually appealing ways. In our case, we made it our cover (kudos to Art Director Karen Holub) and had a great opening spread (Karen again). Then include some sample infographics from the ever-appealing federal government data sources (no joking; they’ve got great stuff!).

4. Then edit the piece as lightly as possible, because its spirit could be crushed otherwise (the lack of editing is where I came in).

Congratulations to Melissa for her smart and well-written take.

And then, because we like clicks as much as the Lawyerist, feel free to read the article in its native habitat on our own website. The cover (wow!) is here, and the article (double-wow!) is here.

I wish you all the sincerest form of flattery, sincerely!

big data word cloud

Big and small intersected in a great way this month, in the cover story for Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Our topic is big data (or Big Data, if that’s how you roll). We’ve grown accustomed to hearing about the power of large-scale data to alter the modern experience—for example, just think of how many results you get when you Google … anything, really. The vast amounts of digital information available to us have transformed our lives. (Plus, technology’s only just getting warmed up.)

Dr. Melissa Kovacs of FirstEval

Dr. Melissa Kovacs

But we wondered how Big Data affects lawyers and their cases. And that’s where the talented Melissa Kovacs comes in.

Dr. Kovacs described a few practice areas that could benefit greatly from a wise use of large datasets. In her essay, she also describes how this data can be illustrated in highly visual ways; that will be a benefit to lawyers, juries, other fact-finders—and to lawyers themselves, who may be numbers-averse (guilty as charged). Her whole story is here.

But I mentioned big and small; what’s up with that?

Put simply, Melissa’s article is concise—blissfully so. It cuts to the chase and does not inundate readers with too much information. But can we have such shorter stories for the cover feature? Sure. Why not?

It’s not uncommon for magazines to reserve the cover for only their longest, weightiest pieces. And sometimes that makes sense.

But Melissa’s piece is timely, relevant, and well written. And I love the fact that our cover image of a tsunami of information is wedded to an article that can be consumed easily. It’s a tranquil pond illustrated by a tidal wave.

Arizona Attorney Magazine, January_2016 cover

Come on in; the water’s fine. Read the whole thing here. And read more about her firm FirstEval here (be sure to read her blog posts; they’re good, and not just good for a data scientist, but truly good!).

Opening spread for our data story by Melissa Kovacs, Arizona Attorney, January 2016.

Opening spread for our data story by Melissa Kovacs, Arizona Attorney, January 2016.