Data and charts seem to be inseparable. If there’s data, the temptation to visualize it can be irresistible. We have all these amazing tools that produce amazing graphics with the press of a button—and showing the data feels honest.
But it’s often a “cover your ass” strategy. The job of a data scientist is to make sense of data…draw insights from it—not summarise it in a technical picture.
Sarah Slobin, a graphics editor at the Wall Street Journal, came to a similar conclusion while working on a story recently.
Data visualization is a worthy craft. We can tell important stories with data. We can illuminate complex issues and expose lapses. We can inform and delight readers and make good apps. We need to remember that behind the data are stories and inside those stories are people and those people are connected to the statistics in a way that we never will be, regardless of how badass we are with our tools, how rockstar-smart our code is, or how facile we are in manipulating the information.