Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It's time for a Pulitzer Prize for infographics and data visualization

Winning piece by The Washington Post
The 2016 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced, and there are good news for those who care about visualization. The Tampa Bay Times won one for this series of stories and graphics I praised a while ago; The Washington Post got an award mainly for this interactive graphic. Other organizations that use data journalism on a regular basis, like The Marshall Project and ProPublica, were also recognized by the jury.

All this makes me very happy. The Post piece, for instance, won the National Reporting prize, which is great. However, I wonder: Isn't it time for the Pulitzer board to create a category for infographics, data visualization, news applications, etc.? Awards already exist for other journalistic forms like explanatory reporting, feature writing, commentary, photography etc. Isn't it clear already that visualization is increasingly popular, effective, and that graphics can be standalone journalistic “stories”? Doesn't visualization deserve to be recognized as a distinct way of delivering news? I believe that it does. Moreover, as Scott Klein says, news graphics have more than two hundreds years of history, so this prize category is long overdue.

Perhaps we should open a petition.

UPDATE: Here's IndyStar's Stephen Beard on Facebook: