How do we tell a story?

Narratives are generally monologues; there is the narrator and the audience.

Humans

We are visual creatures that understand better with images depicting the situation, for example in a war zone. Imagery helps our brain make connections between facts and imagination to create a narration that flows smoothly, like a movie.

Telling your story with data

Images are frozen in time, at a specific location and from a specific viewpoint. In a given context, information is better understood when presented as changes across time.

Source

We may also like to show contrasting facts via simple visuals.

Source

Data caveat

While visualisation makes information simpler to understand, it is important to consider the bias and the hidden facet of the story.

The narrator may insert subtle cues to lead the audience to believe one side of the story instead of providing the complete picture.

The age of insight (from Google)

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TA_tNh0LMEs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Data journalism

Moving beyond imagery and visualisation, we would like interactivity that allows the audience to experience information on a different level. Google’s latest News Lab introduces the capability to inject interactivity into our everyday news.

An example is, Wikileaks Iraq war logs: every death mapped.