How does data visualization work for journalism?
What can we learn from it as statisticians?

Today, we will be talking about data visualization in journalism with Irene. She has worked for BBC so she has a background with journalism and we will learn from her perspective.

We talk about the following interesting points:

  1. Who is your audience? Will they understand it?
  2. Is it accessible e.g to color blind people?
  3. What is your message?
  4. Use charts
  5. Curating information
  6. Include aggregated data
  7. Use a specific person as an example
  8. Data transparency to build trust
  9. Engaging data visualizations

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Transcript

My Learnings From Organising The 2nd Conference Of The Effective Statistician – Part 1

[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to another episode of The Effective Statistician. And today I want to talk about a conference. [00:00:10] This conference happened this week, The Effective Statistician Conference. And it was the second conference since we did a similar one [00:00:20] last year in April today. And today I want to share seven learnings that I have from this conference.

[00:00:28] Alexander: Especially, actually, [00:00:30] From the preparation for this conference, as I’m recording this before we get the conference going, so just before the conference going, [00:00:40] first, a lot of communication is needed to get through to people. I don’t know how many LinkedIn posts I did, how many [00:00:50] emails all these kinds of different things we did to make sure that people become aware about the conference.

[00:00:58] Alexander: And of course, [00:01:00] in a great organization, it is very, very similar. It’s probably already similar in a, in a smaller organization. Yeah. [00:01:10] It always takes effort to reach people. And very often you need to have multiple channels, so [00:01:20] just one channel, for example, having it mentioned in just one meeting or something like this is usually not enough.

[00:01:28] Alexander: If you want to, [00:01:30] for example, make sure that everybody learns about the latest updates on the SAP template or certain other [00:01:40] things that happen in your business, just mentioning it once. Will not help to reach everybody [00:01:50] and you need to speak to the different needs of the different people Yeah, speak about what’s in it for them And [00:02:00] here, of course, personal brand matters a lot.

[00:02:04] Alexander: I can see that the different speakers that have a big brand, they, of [00:02:10] course, attract much more people to join the conference. They get a lot more traction in terms of making the conference known, all [00:02:20] these kind of different things. So, invest in your personal brand. That will make a big difference for you over [00:02:30] the careers that you have.

[00:02:33] Alexander: Think learning, always have a plan B. So there was one speaker who couldn’t make it and kind of [00:02:40] last minute. And so you need to have a plan B. And yeah, it was pretty good too. I have a network where I can [00:02:50] pull on and that helped me to quickly fill that spot with another outstanding speaker. Not that this is a kind of a speaker that [00:03:00] was kind of second, second league, for sure not, absolutely top notch speaker.

[00:03:06] Alexander: But if you have a good plan B there, then that helps a [00:03:10] lot. And that leads me to lesson number three. It is awesome to have a great network. So [00:03:20] create your own network. If you have a great network, then whenever these kind of things come up, you can rely on this network. [00:03:30] So to all the different speakers, I reached out personally and that’s how I got the people to say this, and that is how I got the people [00:03:40] to contribute some time from there.

[00:03:43] Alexander: Usually very busy calendars to do a presentation at my conference. I hardly [00:03:50] ever get a no, which is really, really good. And I’ll speak about that in my last lesson. Fourth lesson. [00:04:00] Learn from the past. In the first conference, I’ve done a five hour marathon, and I’ll not do that again. So [00:04:10] we’ll have we will have had, I don’t know how I should say it as we are recording this before the conference, but as the time you are listening to this, the conference is [00:04:20] already over.

[00:04:21] Alexander: So we applied some changes based on the learnings. Instead of having five hours in one go, which is quite a lot of time. I [00:04:30] split it into three, three hour sections and that makes it much easier to handle. I also made sure that the [00:04:40] recording in Zoom is automatically starting. I had that last time where I was completely kind of [00:04:50] overwhelmed with all the different tasks.

[00:04:51] Alexander: So I forgot. To record the first parts of the conference, which was really a shame because there were some outstanding speakers there.[00:05:00] I also built in some buffer before I start the conference. So the days that I’m doing the conference, I [00:05:10] have less meetings and especially I block time just before the conference.

[00:05:15] Alexander: Kicks off the hour, so that I can go really [00:05:20] relaxed into the conference. Lesson number five, delegate and build a team around what you do. For this conference, I [00:05:30] had much more help from my team from VVS. So there’s a people that help with me in the background and it was outstanding. So [00:05:40] that made a lot of things much easier.

[00:05:43] Alexander: We could do much more in terms of promotion much more in terms of visuals, much more in [00:05:50] terms of episodes, all these kinds of different things. And that makes a huge difference. 

[00:05:57] Alexander: Lesson number six.[00:06:00] Could have basically more or less just repeated the last year’s conference but instead I look to nearly double it [00:06:10] in size. So instead of having five hours, we have nine hours. Awesome. And don’t be afraid to ask, you know, the big names the [00:06:20] VPs of companies. They volunteered their time, which is outstanding.

[00:06:26] Alexander: So don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be [00:06:30] afraid to think bigger. Only if you allow yourself to think bigger, to go for these. Bigger targets, [00:06:40] bigger goals, only then you can reach them. If you directly set yourself up for reaching something smaller, you can’t actually reach something [00:06:50] bigger. So think and plan bigger.

[00:06:54] Alexander: And the last lesson is, our statistics community is [00:07:00] just Awesome. I love it how people share their insights, provide time, help others through this [00:07:10] conference. I really, really love our global community of statisticians, data scientists, programmers that all love to [00:07:20] contribute to our shared knowledge, our overall shared goal of making sure that We [00:07:30] have better health care for patients and this just makes me really, really confident for the future in terms of health care.[00:07:40] 

[00:07:40] Alexander: It. It makes me humble and it makes me just really, really excited about the future. [00:07:50] And I really want to help this community much more. So for the next conference I [00:08:00] already said that we will have. Contributed sessions, so there you can share your insights, your [00:08:10] experience, your help to the community as well.

[00:08:14] Alexander: And I want to have more trainings. in the effective [00:08:20] statistician academy. I will talk about that a little bit further in the next episodes and also over the next weeks. If you want [00:08:30] to become part of this academy as a trainer, as a As a teacher, as someone that shares knowledge and [00:08:40] provides helpful tips to our community, then please send me an email to alexander at the effective statistician dot com.

[00:08:48] Alexander: And then we can go [00:08:50] from there. If you already have A material that is usually great and then we can start from there and set up a nice course. [00:09:00] So stay tuned for more updates on the academy. Thanks so much if you listen to this on a Friday. [00:09:10] Have an awesome weekend. I will definitely celebrate what happened with the conference.

[00:09:16] Alexander: As I’m recording this, we have already [00:09:20] over 650 registrations. I’m pretty sure it will increase even more beyond that. I’m already so grateful for everything that [00:09:30] happened. I can only believe it will be a great conference unless something really, really terrible happens. And so for that, [00:09:40] enjoy your weekend and be an effective statistician.

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I want to help the community of statisticians, data scientists, programmers and other quantitative scientists to be more influential, innovative, and effective. I believe that as a community we can help our research, our regulatory and payer systems, and ultimately physicians and patients take better decisions based on better evidence.

I work to achieve a future in which everyone can access the right evidence in the right format at the right time to make sound decisions.

When my kids are sick, I want to have good evidence to discuss with the physician about the different therapy choices.

When my mother is sick, I want her to understand the evidence and being able to understand it.

When I get sick, I want to find evidence that I can trust and that helps me to have meaningful discussions with my healthcare professionals.

I want to live in a world, where the media reports correctly about medical evidence and in which society distinguishes between fake evidence and real evidence.

Let’s work together to achieve this.