The projects I enjoy the most, however, are the ones that are not based on a particular dataset, but on a story that should have included an infographic or visualization, but didn't. Fortunately, there are some high-quality publications that don't use information graphics at all, even if they clearly need them. The most egregious example is the New Yorker magazine. I read the latest issue this afternoon. Two of its stories have a great potential for visuals.
The first one is about how cities can be "climate-proofed". If you are not a subscriber, you can only read a small portion of it, but I can assure you that many of its paragraphs —full of figures and geographical references— will make you mutter: "Gee, I wish they had made a graphic about this!" There's your exercise: Make your students read the story carefully; tell them to pick just one of the many themes in it (raising sea levels; most threatened neighborhoods in the country, and so forth); then, ask them to look for information and build a graphic that could run alongside the story. The data they'd need should be easy to find online, and many of the primary sources are mentioned by the writer.
A Pickpocket's Tale. It describes the life of Apollo Robbins, the man who inspired part of Sleights of Mind, a nice book about magic and neuroscience. The story is freely available. Read it and tell me if it the thieving techniques explained in it don't make you envision one or more graphics such as the one on the right, made by my student Daniela Santamarina,