Defending interactive visualization and data journalism against the cult of the static and the simplistic

1 minute read

Tufte’s illustration of what he famously dubbed ‘The Flatland’ –– the two-dimensional, static and shallow state of information graphics –– in his 1980 work Envisioning Information

</br> In Dec. 2014, the Economist boldly proclaimed in its popular “Graphic Detail” blog that “the genre of interactive visualization is leaping ahead of static charts . . . Online, interactive charts will become the norm, nudging aside paper-based, static ones.” The proclamation from the British-based, internationally-circulated newsweekly was hardly a unique or revolutionary one for its time; indeed, the comments reflected a forming consensus among thought-leaders in the publishing and data visualization communities that a new era of democratization was finally making it possible for interactive data visualization to go mainstream.

Fast forward two-years to 2016, and the very same people and institutions who previously lauded the era of data democratization