Visual Trumpery: Fighting Against Fake Data and Visualizations — From the Left and From the Right
With facts and truth increasingly under assault, many interest groups have enlisted data visualization to support all manner of spin. Because digital images and graphics are inherently sharable and can quickly amplify messages, sifting through the visual information and misinformation is more critical than ever, and creating effective data visualizations without misleading viewers is an important skill for journalists — one that is within your reach, regardless of your background or budget.
The use of graphs, charts, maps, and infographics to explore data and communicate science to the public has become more and more popular among scientists and journalists alike. However, this rise in popularity has not been accompanied by an increasing awareness of the principles and rules that should guide the design of these visualizations.
Alberto Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami. He became a professor after nearly 20 years as infographics and visualization director in news publications in Spain and Brazil. He continues working as a consultant and freelance visualization designer for multiple companies, like Microsoft and Google. He is the author of the books The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (2013) and The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication (2016). His Twitter handle is @albertocairo.