Inspired by true events and, unfortunately, witnessed in many newsrooms:
Reporter/writer (RW): “This chart is just so boring. You need to spice it up, adding some shadows, 3D, illustrations, or something.
Visualization journalist (VJ): “This chart shows all relevant information, and it’s accurate, readable, and elegant. Its headline is a pun, so it even has some humor. If I agree to ‘spice it up’, would you do the same with the copy you're writing, if I ask you to?”
RW: “I want this graphic to go viral! Look, visuals are supposed to attract eyeballs, above all!”
VJ: “I will be happy to sacrifice the integrity of the chart if you do the same with your story. Would you be willing to add made-up colorful details here and there in your story to make it more ‘viral’?”
RW: “Well, I'm a journalist, you know... Anyway, as it is, nobody will read this chart!”
VJ: “Have you tested how many people really read your 1,000-word stories? Perhaps we could compare.”
RW: “But I want to do surprising, experimental stuff with our graphics!”
VJ: “I am all for experimentation, but it’s easy to experiment with someone else’s work, not knowing much about its rules and ethics. It’s harder to do the same with your own ‘stuff’.”
I wonder if so many reporters/editors (writers) realize how arrogant they sound when they recklessly tell visual journalists how to do their jobs.* It's insulting and it must stop outright. They need to get some of their own medicine, for a change. Give it to them. And never give up.
(*I'm also dismayed by how many of us have happily and uncritically adopted the jargon of marketing, but that's another story.)