Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury

Despite potential information graphics gaffes like those illustrated in the video above or chartjunk fiascos publicly dissected by Edward Tufte, the ubiquitous electronic slideware has been featured in yet another high profile trial.

In cases of white-color corporate malfeasance, some would argue that such corporate software would be particularly appropriate, given the way that the MS Office suite is already used to simplify (and perhaps oversimplify) complicated financial transactions. For example, Dave Paradi, who wrote a PowerPoint Bible for Prentice Hall, has claimed that the Microsoft product solves the fundamental problem of "How to explain complex financial dealings to a jury of regular folks who don't deal with those type of corporate terms or ideas?"

Recently, the Chicago prosecutor handling the case of newspaper mogul Conrad Black made her closing arguments with PowerPoint. Witnesses' photographs and snippets from their statements were incorporated into her digital presentation. Black is accused of illegally skimming money and failing to share with shareholders, but the defendent argues that his crimes were really what Malcolm Gladwell has called "Open Secrets" and that the failures of others to analyze and communicate information weren't his doing.

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Blogger Lupton said...

Thanks for sharing the link to Tufte's power point manifesto. I had visited his site before, but never saw this page.

6:17 AM  

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