Statistical Storytelling Revisited

Since its emergence in the 19th century, the continuous publication of results has been an important activity of official statistics. This publication activity, as well as its conditions, objectives and forms have been debated time and again in official statistics’ community.

About 10 years ago, one theme in particular came to the forefront of discussions: storytelling and its role in the dissemination and communication of statistics. Storytelling is a programme to make the results of official statistics accessible and understandable to people and – in fulfilment of an information mandate – to make “evidence based decision making” possible.

Looking back, it becomes apparent that storytelling meant, and still means, many different things to statisticians. The goal is largely undisputed, but the implementation varies widely and is influenced by developments in the media sector.

Where are we today? What and where is the potential of the storytelling approach in the world of the social and semantic web?

The goal of the following paper is to make an inventory of what storytelling comprises,what role storytelling plays within the framework of official statistics and which challenges official statistics face in view of the rapidly changing media environment.
This paper is the contribution of the author to the International Marketing and Output Database Conference IMAODBC 2010 in Vilnius.


Storytelling Revisited



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