Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Soda? Pop? Or Coke? It Depends Where You Live

Student: Faryn

Sugary, carbonated drinks have been the subject of some controversy lately, but there’s one soft-drink dispute that’s not new at all—what do you call them?

Check out Generic Names for Soft Drinks for an intricate map of America’s answers. Designed by Matthew Campbell, a cartography student at East Central University, and based on hundreds of thousands of responses collected at popvssoda.com, the map is a testament to the Internet’s ability to easily gather data over wide areas. It’s amazing how much information is packed into this chart—it’s clickable, color-coded and divided into individual counties, providing a high-resolution picture of a strangely potent cultural indicator. Surprisingly, the results seem to follow rough political boundaries—residents of mostly coastal, liberal areas like New England and California prefer “soda,” while the Deep South likes “coke” and the Midwest chooses “pop.” Apparently, there’s more to these names than meets the ear. (Source: Very Short List)

Write a news story about this map. You can use some of the information above for ideas, but the words must be your own. Remember to include the five W's of a good news story: who, what, when, where, and why? Also, include links, sources, labels, and at least one infographic.

Also, answer the following questions:
  • What are infographics? Why are they important to include in our news stories and blog posts?
  • What is cartography?
  • If you finish early, work with Camryn to create a poll for students that asks how do they refer to soda/pop/coke.

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