Data Literacy & Defining Infographics

February 26, 2014|Posted in: Readings


Data Literacy:

Journalists need to be able to understand and interpret data in order to use it to tell accurate, compelling stories. In addition, they also need to be able to know how to work with large data sets and perform various functions in order to clean up and analyze the data they have. This is especially true when making generalizations or working with averages or percentages to tell a story. When working with data like these, it is important that journalists understand and take into consideration factors such as distribution, base rate, and sample size when putting data the data into context.

Defining Infographics:

The term “infographics” is often misused and misunderstood throughout newsrooms and and in other media-related fields such as advertising, marketing, or public relations. “In journalism, an infographic is a storytelling device that seamlessly combines text, graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, and illustrations.” When creating an infographic, it is important that journalists prioritize all essential elements of the infographic equally: accuracy, aesthetics, and style.


  1. Does anyone know what Benford’s law is? It was mentioned in the data journalism handbook reading.
  2. How long, if ever, do you think it will be until journalism programs add a “math for journalists” class to their curriculums?
  3. Do you think “decontextualized” data is a prominent problem in today’s data journalism stories?
  4. What do you think is more important to readers/viewers when it comes to infographics: aesthetics or content?
  5. Do you think “infographic” is a term that the general public knows/understands?