Radio and TV reporters often have just 45 seconds to tell a story, so they don’t have the time to explain how each demographic group is affected in a story about the latest unemployment rate.
If you’re a newspaper reporter and you include all of the data in an article, the editor will curse you for writing a 300-inch story and then cut it to 30 inches so it cut it fits on the page. And that can be frustrating, especially if the editor chops the compelling paragraph about Grade 10-educated males who worship Ninhursag, the Sumerian earth and mother goddess, face 50 per cent unemployment.
Digital journalism is changing how we report large chucks of data like demographic studies.New types of journalists are telling stories using data visualization, also known as information visualization. They endeavour to display large chunks of complex data in an aesthetic, functional, intuitive and narrative format. It can also be interactive if it is presented on the web.
Have a look at The Jobless Rate for People Like You, published in the New York Times in 2009. This data visual uses just four demographic indicators – race, gender, age range and education level – to interactively show how various groups were effected by unemployment.
An example of a more complex data visual is The Top World Cup Players on Facebook, Day by Day, also published in the Times.