Friday, August 17, 2012
This is an interesting way to put the Olympics in a different perspective. The Guardian published a "Data Blog," a collection of graphs that tell a deeper story about the games and the athletes. There is much for PR to learn. On the whole, practitioners use too few graphs and charts. When they do deploy them, they can distort facts through poor presentation. or "spin." As Edward Tufte says, graphs and charts should make complex data simple and comparative. They should make relevant facts stand out without distortion, deliberate or otherwise. Earnings reports, for example, would be more understandable if graphs accompanied them. Page after turgid page of words can be simplified quickly and delivered at a glance. A barrier, of course, is that newswire services don't transmit them. Why not move, then, to mass distribution of pdfs? One could achieve both mandatory disclosure and better understanding. The web liberated visualization of quantitative data. It's time to use the tool.