There once was an old website known as newsmap.jp. It took news from Google News, sorted it by the number of sources it found to gauge popularity and displayed the results visually. The algorithm it used was known as a squarified treemap. Treemaps are used to show hierarchical data in 2D with area proportional to value.
Unfortunately it relied on old fashioned flash technology.
It’s rough around some edges but generally works quite well already. I’ll take feedback/suggestions and make some improvements as I see fit but I’ll be happy to take pull requests for other changes.