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

2 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

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

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