2019.11.25,

Critique

Data Visualization Tools For Journalists

author_posts/samvel-martirosyan
Samvel Martirosyan

Media researcher

Data journalism or investigations are often left unnoticed by the reader simply because the journalist is unable to present the facts correctly. Rather, not incorrectly, but in a comprehensible and understandable way for today’s average statistical reader.

And today we all prefer fewer words and a lot of visual information.

Visualization techniques can be very helpful in accessing information. The design of infographics and other such images allows for making heavy texts more accessible. Moreover, for today’s readers, text containing more than three paragraphs is already considered heavy.

Visualization is useful, but it’s expensive. The work of good professionals is not accessible to many media outlets. Especially that the problem is to present the reader with infographics regularly.

Of course, professional visualization is a complex, time-consuming and costly process.

On the other hand, there are quite a few services available today that allow non-professionals to create such images themselves, which will make any data-based text more sophisticated.

A little practice and it will be possible to create interesting infographics, maps and more. Consider a few similar services. I will present only those services which also have free options.

In many cases, paid versions may also be available for editorial offices.

In Infogram, there’s the capability to create infographics based on existing databases. That is, it is possible, for example, to provide files in the xls, csv versions of the system and obtain graphic images, maps, which can also somehow be made more beautiful by using given design tools. Infographics can be created both in the form of pictures and be embedded into an interactive website.

At Easelly you can create interesting visual data stories. There are many tools and examples of already created infographics that can be edited and created based on the new data.

Flourish lets you create very simple and affordable infographics. There are many examples that can be worked on. Infographics can be created both in the form of pictures and embedded into interactive websites.

The Visual Investigative Scenarios Platform is one of the OCCRP programs of well-known investigative journalists. Here it is possible to show pictorial connections between people, organizations, and the like. Many examples illustrate the possibilities.

Google Data Studio is for more advanced features. This Google tool is one of the most useful for big data processing and visualization. Unlike the aforementioned platforms, which require half an hour of testing to work on, this will require an in-depth study.

These are just a few tools. There is no shortage of such services. They are just not used in the Armenian press.

Many other similar platforms can be found if desired. The important thing is desire. And, of course, good, enthusiastic data.

Samvel Martirosyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.


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