The Importance of How we See the Numbers During the Pandemic

Alberto Cairo on Al Jazeera English

The Importance of How we See the Numbers During…

Speaking to Al Jazeera English for a piece entitled: “The Power and Politics of Data Visualisation” three contributors looked at how data is often presented as objective truth, but the way it is presented, interpreted, and contextualized can distort its original purpose. Turning data into graphics people can understand is increasingly important, but viewers also should also be better informed and more careful in recognizing the nature of uncertainty in these visualizations.

The piece looks at how important it is to be able to trust the data, yet it’s equally important that viewers understand that the visualization of the data can be influenced by human decisions on the collection, interpretation, and depiction of the data.  Dr. Cairo says “Data visualizations are some of the best tools that we have to understand the world if we use them well and we interpret them well, but that doesn’t mean that those numbers are the whole story. We also need to use logic and scientific reasoning.”


Mona Chalabi, Beth Blauer, and Alberto Cairo for Al Jazeera English


Mona Chalabi   Ilustrator; Data Editor, Guardian US
Beth Blauer  Executive Director, Centers for Civic Impact, Johns Hopkins University
Alberto Cairo  Author of How Charts Lie; Professor of Visual Journalism, University of Miami School of Communication; Director, IDSC Visualization, Data Communication, & Information Design