How does a dyslexic writer become a Pulitzer Prize winning writer? Brock and I recently had the chance to talk with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gareth Cook, writer and editor for the New York Times best-selling series Best American Infographics, as well as leading articles in the Boston Globe (Ideas section), New York Times Magazine, Wired, Salon, and Washington Monthly. He was able to share his experiences with telling stories through words as well as talk about how he came to be inspired by visual stories through infographics.
From our interview:
“There some kinds of stories where words are the best ways of telling stories, and then there are other kinds of stories where these kinds of images are the best way to go.”
Infographics are a natural mode of communication for dyslexic people because they can take complex data and grasp the big picture with imagery.
From Gareth, again: “There are many cases when if you try to present information in verbal form, it will take a person a long time to make their way through it and understand it, and they still might not get what’s being done, where as if you show them a diagram, they may immediately, and intuitively understand it. So, depending on the context and in certain circumstances, giving people information in written form is an inefficient way of communicating.”
Visual literacy is taking on increasing importance in today’s classrooms though it’s unusual to find curricula that are stronger visually than verbally.
You can also get a free account with Piktochart to start experimenting with infographics on your own.
Gareth is a great example of a very big picture thinker with strong I-strengths (interconnected reasoning), N-strengths (narrative reasoning), and D-strengths (pattern detection and forecasting). Gareth is a magna cum laude graduate from Brown University in International Relations and mathematical physics (both big picture disciplines!) – he is also a very thoughtful, reflective thinker. I personally enjoyed his discussion about how he went about finding a good stories and he was able to reconceive the process of writing.
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