Data can be seen as a raw material to work with, to mold with the digital tools we are given today: our virtual pick, chisel and hammers. We can sculpt a visual representation of something intangible: information. A graph can in seconds convey the story that would take minutes to read or tell. It unpacks relationships and places them before our eyes to see. Unfair wage gaps can be put on paper (or on screen), suicide rates illustrated into shapes and forms everyone can understand. Data visualization strips away mysticism in numbers. It is about transparency, clarity and simplifying that which was previously obfuscated. Data journalists are thus making data into art in the most minimal fashion possible. They do not wish to confuse you but to speak to you directly and get the point across in the most streamlined way that they can. Clean cut lines. Direct and to the point. Unembellished. They are the modernists who turn the intangible into the visible. What data journalists construct isn’t a mere visual aid to speak in front of and point to. These pieces can stand alone and tell a complex story. It will unravel itself to you as you look at it and make the necessary connections same as you would gaze at a painting.
For a modern day example, click HERE