Factual visuals II

Following on from my previous blog post, the same “rush, speculation and invention” in evidence in the coverage of the Bin Laden story drove two industry heavy-weights – Alberto Cairo and Juan Antonio Giner – to issue a fine six-point infographic checklist:

1. An infographic is, by definition, a visual display of facts and data. Therefore, no infographic can be produced in the absence of reliable information.

2. No infographic should include elements that are not based on known facts and available evidence.

3. No infographic should be presented as being factual when it is fictional or based on unverified assumptions.

4. No infographic should be published without crediting its source(s) of information.

5. Information graphics professionals should refuse to produce any visual presentation that includes imaginary components designed to make it more “appealing” or “spectacular”. Editors must refrain from asking for graphics that don’t stick to available evidence.

6. Infographics are neither illustrations nor “art”. Infographics are visual journalism and must be governed by the same ethical standards that apply to other areas of the profession.

Let’s not ever forget, as Chiqui summarises so nicely, “visual journalism is, above any other thing, journalism”.