Data narratives: bridge the gap

This was published more than 6 years ago

Attitudes and opinions change and evolve.

You know that feeling you get when you stumble upon something you wrote in the distant past and it's terrible? There are many cringe-worthy bits of immature writing on this website (and I'm probably still creating more).

As well as the mere cringe-worthy, there are also opinions and attitudes expressed that I no longer hold and am, frankly, embarrassed by. (Please don't go looking, they're deliberately hard to find, but left for the sake of posterity.)

I hope if you've stumbled across some here, you'll give me the benefit of the doubt.

A few years back I did a talk at the Brisbane Web Design meetup about the differences between exploratory and narrative driven models for telling stories with data.

I see this topic—using the traditional storytelling skills for creating compelling narrative—coming up more and more recently in the data journalism and data visualisation communities.

Here’s a particularly good overview of the concepts from Chad Skelton.

A key point he makes is that you should lean toward a narrative driven approach whenever there is a gap between your understanding of the data and that of your audience (which is pretty much always in journalism). The bigger the gap, the more narrative driven your approach should be.

Stick around for the questions too, there are a couple of good ones.