An academic paper I found made a couple similar points about motion graphics.
“The communication of an idea is maybe the most important component which motion graphics must fulfill” (Babic, Pibernik & Mrvac, 2008, p. 499).
Also, a video or movie “is not motion graphics [sic] unless it is integrated with elements of design like letters, shapes or lines, i.e., unless it uses elements of design in order to communicate a message” (Woolman quoted in Babic, Pibernik & Mrvac, 2008, p. 499).
Similarly, journalistic motion graphics should communicate a story – a cause and effect, a timeline of events, a portrayal of how something works.
I like several things about this 2010 Wall Street Journal motion graphic, “Dissecting China’s Housing Market.” I like its 1970s-cartoon-style illustrations, fast pace, use of just two colors, sound effects, and well written script. With these elements, it tells an engaging story, one that in another format might have put me to sleep.
Babic, N., Pibernik, J., & Mrvac, N. (2008, September). Media study: Motion graphics. In ELMAR, 2008. 50th International Symposium (Vol. 2, pp. 499-502). IEEE.
Woolman, M. (2004). Motion Design: moving graphics for television, music, video, cinema and digital interfaces. RotoVision.