Of all the means to bring data to the people an “old” and wide spread technology seems to be more potent than any other: Video or the television paradigm.
A video combining dynamic data visualizations and attractive, entertaining narrative easily meets with attention and wins favour – even with the couch potato in us.
Here I fully agree with Jon Udell in his blog (thanks to felice for the hint) when he is saying: “But what I realized while making them (the screencasts) is that narrated animation is really the secret sauce. Analytical software, whether it’s Excel or GapMinder or Many Eyes or something else, is necessary but not sufficient. The stories that people will understand, and remember, are the ones that have been performed well.”
Storytelling is a well known topic in discussions about efficient dissemination of statistcs. This has been an issue in several Work Session on Statistical Dissemination and Communication of the Conference of European Statisticians (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). A Guide to writing stories about numbers was a fruit of these sessions (download). See also the archives of these work sessions (2003, 2005)
However, videos or screencasts did not yet figure on the agenda. This new powerful tool will launch another discussion, the discussion about quality and the dangers of manipulation!