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How to make your data and visuals compelling

Beautiful interactive visuals or deep news apps often get social media love, but they need not be the default outcome of a data journalism project. Just as often a tightly written narrative can bring your data to life and inform your readers. When looking at how your data project should be presented to readers, consider your resources, your audiences and what will best tell the story.

The final step in a data journalism project is assembling a story, data visualization, or news app that presents your data or findings. Be careful not to automatically fall into the trap of trying to push all of your data to the readers. That may or may not be the right approach.

The questions you should ask yourself are:

  • What best tells this story?
  • What best serves my targeted audience?
  • What can we reasonably produce with the resources we have?

A tightly written story can be turned around fairly quickly without a large team of developers and designers. A news app could provide hundreds of thousands of readers with a key resource that serves specific needs. Pick an approach that meets your needs and abilities. Either way, be sure to contextualize your data and make it relevant to your readers. Also consider whether you should you make your databases publicly available.