Analysis tied to making the "story" visual
November 3rd, 2006 by JTJ

The NYTimes Michael Gordon broke a fine story on Nov. 1, 2006 — “U.S. Central Command Charts Sharp Movement of the Civil Conflict in Iraq Toward Chaos.”  The grabber in the story was a single PowerPoint slide some unnamed source slipped to Gordon that illustrated where the U.S. was on the “continuum of chaos” in Iraq. 

The story is a good and insightful read, but the important lesson to take away is how what might seem to be random events — in this case violent events — and be understood and communicated as the visual aggregate of a complex phenomenon.  Journalists might give some thought to how can we (a) visually present both static and dynamic events in our towns and (b) what do we first have to learn and understand to do so? 

Only then will we be able to ask the right and pertinent questions of the military, corporations and public officials — who are all using these and similar techniques.

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