This wasn't really a topic that was presented but it was a thread that I first saw on Twitter awhile back.
Conference attendees were asking critical questions to presenters. One such line of questioning to Hannah Fairfield reminded me of something Alberto Cairo talked about at last year's conference (you can find my post about it here)...let the data tell the story, don't come at it with a story and present only the data to support your position. My personal feeling on this is that it's tricky. Of course, if you have the data right in front of you and you ignore it just to tell a story you want, that's not fair to the reader. If you don't have the data available to show perhaps a more complete picture, then I think it's fine to tell the story of that limited data set. My use case for this is women's empowerment data. There are sooooo many factors that go into empowering women that it's difficult to tell the whole story without getting too mired in the details. It's more manageable to talk about pay equity or political empowerment. My position on this might evolve, but for right now, that's what it is. Attendees also questioned Kim Rees heavily on the gun deaths viz and the model used to project the potential life expectancy and cause of death had the person's life not been cut short by gun violence.
Again, not a new comment, but it's one of the topics I heard about at the Data Dive held at the Urban Institute last fall. In her opening remarks, Urban President Susan Rosen Wartell recalled how she was discussing data during a speech and was loudly criticized because it's not just data; the data represents a person. Part of Chad Skelton's talk was about putting the You in the Data. People want to know about themselves (& as I learned, he's still waiting for someone to make a 'What Kind of Chart are You?' BuzzFeed quiz). He asserted (& I totally buy it) that we should start at the individual level and then zoom out to the bigger picture. What was fascinating was that they tested the hypothesis and it showed (not really surprising) that people are focused on themselves first.
Kim Rees of Periscopic wanted to make sure we were awake after lunch. She came out with a pretty bold statement against data storytelling and for data documentaries. That's a pretty controversial statement to make at a data storytelling conference. Kim walked through the gun deaths and other visualizations that the folks at Periscopic created.
The short stories were awesome. I especially liked Ben Jones's work on Seven Data Story Types as a thought starter. They all made sense (and were referenced in subsequent talks)!
I met fantastic folks, got to catch up and have great conversations. This year felt more show and tell than last year, but still quite valuable. Tapestry conference is great if you want to be a data story-teller, develop a data documentary, or are a data journalist. A big shout out to the one, the only Dan Murray, who gave me a ride to the conference. And a super big shout out to the those behind Tapestry for hosting a solid event! I think it's awesome that you can tell that the organizers are passionate about data story-telling. And doesn't that just make a for a great story?