I'm Alvin Chang, a reporter
who likes data, doodling, and code.

I'm currently a reporter on a new team at the Wall Street Journal, where we're launching a digital magazine.

I cover the political and cultural forces that shape our lives, using data viz, interactives, and cartoons.

I teach data visualization at the New School. I have a master's degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. I'm from Kansas and live in Brooklyn.

Cartoonsplainers
I created a new format at Vox called the "cartoonsplainer." These are deeply reported, data-centric stories that are told with charts, interactives, and, of course, cartoons. I've talked to the Columbia Journalism Review and PolicyViz about some of the thinking behind these stories.
Is your district using school zones to make segregation worse?
Vox.com
I worked with a researcher, Tomas Monarrez, to show how thousands of local school districts actively choose to make racial segregation worse. Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones said this was "such important work." Former US education secretary John King said this was "powerful analysis." And the Education Writers Association awarded this story "Best Visual Storytelling." I talked to Open News about how this piece was done.
Living in a poor neighborhood changes everything about your life
Vox.com
I started this piece like I do every other piece: doing meticulous research, conducting lots of interviews, and analyzing loads of data. But when I sat down to write this story, I realized the best way to tell it was... a cartoon. And that's how "cartoonsplainers" were born. This piece is often used as required reading in university courses.
How the internet keeps poor people in poor neighborhoods
Vox.com
Visualization isn't just about representing data; it can also be used to show how complicated systems work. This piece uses GIFs to visualize an invisible phenomenon. The Asian American Journalists Association named this the best multimedia story in 2017. This piece was cited in an ACLU letter to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and in academic work.
College scholarship tycoon, a game
Vox.com
I created this simulation game from scratch, using the basic building blocks of HTML and Javascript. This piece started as a normal cartoonsplainer, but I realized there was a larger system I wanted my readers to understand, which is how it ended up looking like this. I used data and research to build the underlying game mechanics, and I used my reporting to create the rules of the game.
Data/Viz
I consider myself a reporter first, so my goal with data viz is to tell a clear, evidence-driven story. Most of my data viz is bar charts and line charts. But even when I make fancier visualizations, the goal is still the same.
Every time Ford and Kavanaugh dodged a question, in one chart
Vox.com
The morning after the Senate testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, I sat in bed reading through the transcripts. And I started noticing a trend: One person answered the questions; the other person didn't. So I turned this transcript into data and visualized it. Within minutes of publishing, the chart went viral. This piece was awarded "Best Use Of Data in Breaking News Story" from the Data Journalism Awards, and I was interviewed about this piece by Open News.
American segregation, mapped at day and night
Vox.com
I read a lot of academic research to find compelling visual stories. And sometimes you hit the jackpot. In this piece, I mapped how Americans move throughout the day in every major American city. When you toggle the map from day to night, you'll see what I mean.
The man who rigged America's election maps
Vox.com
I always knew, in theory, that gerrymandering had ramped up in the last two decades. But I wanted to see exactly how it was done, so I dug into the data and the secret files of a Republican operative who drew the maps. What I saw was far more brazen than I'd ever thought.
Sean Hannity has become the media’s top conspiracy theorist
Vox.com
I analyzed of two years of Hannity transcripts, and I learned that since President Trump's election, the show pushed more conspiracy theories than any other news program. For this project, I scraped Reddit's /r/conspiracy and cross-referenced news programs with that content. My piece was references in a New York Times Magazine profile of Sean Hannity; he called it a "typical left-wing attack," and said he's been right when his colleagues have been wrong. Alex Jones called me a "soy boy" after this piece ran.
Collaborations
I've had wonderful collaborators during my career. I'm proud and lucky to have been a part of these teams.
The real reason Boeing’s new plane crashed twice
Vox.com
I learned so much about pacing, editing, and visual storytelling while working on this piece. It started with a rough sketch I made after I read a story about the design decisions Boeing made with its 737 MAX. After I did my research, reporting, and scripting, I wondered: Is this even a good video? But my colleagues Dion Lee and Kim Mas showed me how they think through these storytelling challenges, and my editor, Adam Freelander, showed me the power of structure. This piece has been cited in academic work, lauded by the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and it's been viewed nearly 10 million times.
How tax brackets actually work
Vox.com
I wrote a quick visual explainer on tax brackets and posted it on Vox.com, and didn't think much of it. But a few days later, my colleague Christina Thornell said it would make a great video, and my colleague Kim Mas helped us execute this by using construction paper. I love this piece because we often stumble on Twitter and Reddit threads where people recommend our video as the place to learn how marginal tax rates work.
The Listserve
NYU ITP
The Listserve is a massive internet list where, each day, one person won a lottery to write to everyone else. This five-year long project was covered by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, Fast Company, Time, WNYC, and the New York Times. It was such a joy to conceptualize and execute on an overly ambitious idea with this wonderful group of people: Greg Dorsainville, Zena Koo, Yoonjo Choi, and Josh Begley. Our core value was that the internet needs quiet, intimate corners, and that's what The Listserve was.