MEDSTAT IV – Horizontal sector “Visibility”
2nd regional event on the relations with the users
Lisbon, 21-22 February, 2018
“Today, it is not enough to produce good statistics. It is crucial to consider their relevance to the needs of the users as well as the way they are made available to them” – Words from a participant in the meeting
How to better communicate on statistics was the central question that the participants discussed during the two days of the meeting. They considered different but related dimensions of the question in a very lively debate, fed by concrete experiences from EU (Eurostat, INE-Portugal) and MED statistical offices.
The first dimension addressed data visualisation and the way using infographics and other visualisation tools may help give more attractiveness to statistics, taking into account new audiences and new channels of communication such as the social media. After having considered the costs attached to these tools, it was decided to join forces among the MED countries and to share the necessary investments through an exchange of experiences.
The second dimension targeted the communication with the journalists, as a relay for a large dissemination of key statistical data. Both journalists and statisticians produce information but they do it under totally different modalities and goals. For the statistician it is important to know better how the journalists work in order to establish a “win-win” relationship based on mutual trust. Each statistical office developed its own and genuine approach to journalists according its country context and there are thus a lot of experiences to share in this area. Identifying the best practices and making them available to all the partners will be the task of the project for 2018.
The last dimension discussed concerned the communication around the assessments and rating of the statistical systems. The results of these exercises may have dramatic impact on the trust that the users put in official statistics. It is thus important to communicate clearly on their goals and their results, emphasising particularly on the efforts made by the statistical system to answer the identified weaknesses but also to consolidate the acknowledged successes.
At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed upon a work programme that will be implemented until the end of MEDSTAT IV. They also decided to meet again beginning of 2019 to assess the results achieved in this area in each country and as a group.