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Session Overview

In this session from the 2020 GovComms Festival, we hear from Eric Roche and Julie Steenson on the topic of storytelling with data.

Eric is a Budget Officer for the City of Pearland and Julie is a Fiscal Officer for the City of Missouri. Both have extensive experience using data in a communications context.

They explain why it is important to communicate using data. According to Eric, data can be used to back up (or debunk) an anecdote that is popular among the public. Data is a reliable and convincing way of getting a message across.

They also explain how data can tell a misleading story, and why it is important to get data from multiple sources and from multiple perspectives. Sometimes, data can be misleading or not reflective of the whole story. They discuss why it is important to acknowledge when data is useless or when it does not offer anything of value.

They give some of the ‘hard truths’ about data, and some of the myths that are common about the use of data in government. They also give an outline of the data story cycle, and concrete tips on how to improve your storytelling capability with data.

Julie and Eric then give examples of how their respective cities use data, including the City of Missouri resident survey.

After watching this video, you will:

  • Understand the importance of using data in your communications campaigns.
  • Identify some of the myths about data, including those that exaggerate data’s usefulness.
  • Use data in a user-friendly and transparent way.

About the Author

Eric Roche is the Budget Officer at the City of Pearland Texas and a former Chief Data Officer for Kansas City, Missouri. Technically Skilled in R, Python, Arcgis, and (of course) Excel, he is an energetic professional with a Master of Public Adminis...