Infographics are a quick and easy way of conveying information. Sadly, however, they’re equally useful in simplifying data to the point of misrepresentation. From the text WSJ Guide this week, we know that choosing a y-axis scale that yield a flat line would misrepresent the trend, truncation/a bar chart does not begin at a zero baseline would obscure the discrete total value of each bar, etc.
These reminders are not merely useful to graphic designers beginners like us, but can also provide revisions to some prestigious media organizations. I ran across a post showing how sometimes sophisticated journalists mislead their readers.
Cited from http://idsgn.org/posts/good-and-evil-of-infographics
Actually, the wealth is concentrated more on the very wealthy, but the chart separated the wealthy into many columns to prove a point (that Obama was unnecessarily taxing the wealthy).
That’s a fairly common trick, it’s something we’ve had to deal with.”
Data are too often seen by the public as too complicated to understand. It’s a normal tendency for people to reach out for, and maintain, simpler notions that require less work.
As a reader, we need to have healthy skepticism to the medium, too. What you see is not always the whole story. Visualized or not, there is always another side to the information. As a journalist, we should be careful with the way of our storytelling. Doing it inaccurately may undermine our credibility!