data journalism, data visualization, infographic, journalism

The Truthful Art: understanding the numbers before creating graphics

Alberto Cairo has finished his third book on infographics and data visualisation called The Truthful Art (2016).

While The Functional Art: an Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization focused on the communication of data by charts, graphs, maps, and diagrams; The Truthful Art emphasizes the previous stages of creating these infographics.

The main aims of this book are finding stories when gathering data and presenting them to the public through accurate infographics and visualisations.

For this reason, Alberto shares several methods throughout the chapters to avoid misconceptions and aberrations  when understanding the numbers and creating graphics.

Who is the audience?

Alberto Cairo was writing the book as if he was talking to himself seven years ago when he began to realise atrocities made with numbers. In that time, he didn’t know as much as now about statistical, scientific and logical reasoning.

Analysing data and reasoning

Alberto Cairo says that journalism universities lack reasoning and thinking scientifically about evidence. We are surrounded by numbers, statistics, and scientific publications and sometimes journalists publish huge barbarities:

“Most of the times journalists can only read the abstract and conclusions and they don’t know the methodology.”

Alberto remarks that data journalism is a knowledge that all journalist should have. It is important to understand a scientific paper in order to have good interviews with sources.

Journalism is not a profession but a vital attitude

From Alberto’s point of view, journalists are people who search, filter, organise, contrast and express information in a balanced and scientific way.

But the public sometimes has a misconception about what journalism is:

“It is not a profession, it is a vital attitude. This idea is to organise information and make it clear to the audience so they can interact and get the message”. Tweet this

To know more about Alberto Cairo’s thoughts on journalism, data and visualisations read the previous post.


2 thoughts on “The Truthful Art: understanding the numbers before creating graphics

  1. Pingback: Malofiej 24: It’s time for datavis journalists | dinfografia

  2. Pingback: 3 good data visualizations on economic issues | dinfografia

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