Podcast: Misleading Graphics and COVID-19


KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 19, 2021) — Who makes COVID-19 graphs, hurricane maps, and the instructions to put together your latest Ikea find? And how can you determine if information you see in charts, graphs and other technical communication is accurate? Find out this month on the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Thought Provoking podcast. Host Shelly Kiser, Communications Manager, talks with Sara Doan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Technical Communication, about data visualization and misleading COVID-19 graphs.

In this month’s podcast, we’ll learn how COVID-19 charts from a press briefing, a national magazine article and a TV news station all intentionally or unintentionally mislead viewers about the data contained in the charts.

We’ll also see how big of a problem misleading information is, and whether most misleading information is intentional or just the result of bad visualizations.

We’re living during one of the biggest transformations of data design, which Dr. Doan refers to as the second golden age of data design. Learn what makes this time so important and how the ease with which anyone can now make a chart is both a blessing and a curse.

Technical communication helps us understand the biggest issues in our world. We’ll explore how data visualization helped bring about the modern practice of epidemiology and what Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War, germ theory and cholera have to do with the birth of data design.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify