Data journalism is moving into the newsroom like never before. The skills to find stories with numbers is no small feat. To help you avoid some basic mistakes, let’s take a look at some best practices around communicating stories with your own data.
- Start with the big picture. Frame all of your data within a bigger picture. This makes everything easier for your audience to understand and gives you a strong start to your story.
- Show context. The more context you provide, both visual and verbal, the less likely your audience will be to jump to mistaken conclusions.
- Highlight hidden insights. Many of the most important insights in your data will be hidden below the surface. Highlight these and contrast them with the overall metrics to make a powerful story.
- Manipulate scale. Be clear about the scale of data and the units, and be weary of charts with multiple axes.
- Cherry pick data. Include the full breadth of data in your communications, not just the data points that help make your case.
- Be inconsistent. Use the same colors, labels and conventions across all the statements and visualizations in your story.
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