Saturday, November 10, 2012

My presentation at —plus a few words about journalism

A few hours ago, I gave an online presentation at Visualizing.Org's Global Marathon. In twenty minutes, I had to summarize my views on the basics of data visualization. Not easy task. You can watch the presentation above, and get the slides here.*

After the talk, I got a message on Twitter from my friend José Luis de Vicente, someone deeply involved in technological innovation and data journalism in Spain. He said that it seems that I'm moving away from news infographics and into the territory of pure dataviz (not necessarily journalistic).

I am not so sure that this change is real. First of all, as I explained in the presentation, my approach to graphics is completely low-tech: I know less about programming than probably 90% of the people in the Marathon (OK, I may know a bit more than some of the students there, but not that much). Second, as I point out in The Functional Art, I believe that infographics and data visualization share —or should share— common basic principles and even ethics (public service, honesty, professional independence etc.). Third, visualization designers can learn a good deal from news folks: how to write headlines and copy, organize hierarchies, and tell stories. Those are the skills that I like to teach. At the end, no matter how geeky I may sound in this blog and on Twitter, I still consider myself a journalist, above all.

*The projects I showed during the talk were made with my friends and colleagues Marco Vergotti, Rodrigo Cunha, Rodrigo Fortes, Gerson Mora, Luiz Salomão Gerardo Rodríguez, Erik Scaranello, and Pedro Schimidt, from Época magazine's infographics and multimedia desk.