Truth, beauty, and data revisited

Content for Monday, July 24, 2023–Tuesday, July 25, 2023


Possible questions to reflect on

This is not a required list!

Remember, you don’t need to answer all of these—or even any of them! These are just here to help guide your thinking. Write about whatever you want.

  • Why are stories so powerful?
  • How are stories related to truth?
  • Is it ethical to emphasize certain aspects of the facts in data more than others? How do you decide which facts to use to convince audiences?
  • When you’re telling a story about data, you’re inherently manipulating audience emotions. Is that okay?


The slides for today’s lesson are available online as an HTML file. Use the buttons below to open the slides either as an interactive website or as a static PDF (for printing or storing for later). You can also click in the slides below and navigate through them with your left and right arrow keys.

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Fun fact: If you type ? (or shift + /) while going through the slides, you can see a list of special slide-specific commands.


Videos for each section of the lecture are available at this YouTube playlist.

You can also watch the playlist (and skip around to different sections) here:


Cairo, Alberto. 2016. The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication. Berkeley, California: New Riders.
Krzywinski, Martin, and Alberto Cairo. 2013. “Storytelling.” Nature Methods 10 (8): 687–87.
Wilke, Claus E. 2018. Fundamentals of Data Visualization. Sebastopol, California: O’Reilly Media.