The Canadian newspaper, Globe and Mail, is a leader in diction and style, but it may need improvement in the ‘grammar of graphics’.
Globe’s recent depiction of metropolitan economic growth in the series Off the Charts was way off the mark. The chart plotted the current and forecasted GDP growth rates for select cities in Canada. The red-coloured upward sloping lines depicted cities with increasing economic growth rates and the grey-colored downward sloping lines highlighted those with slowing economic growth.
There is, however, a small problem. The chart erroneously showed some slowing economies as growing and vice versa. Furthermore, the trajectory of the sloping lines would mislead the readers to assume that cities with parallel lines enjoyed a similar increase in the growth rate, which, of course, is not true. The graphical faux pas was certainly avoidable had a bar chart were used.