User Stories

User Story: How Journalists Can Turn Data Into a Visual Masterpiece

In this user story, we talk with Eymen Gamha, a 27-year-old Piktochart user from Tunisia, North Africa. Eymen’s passion for both visual communication and data visualization led him to host two events in Tunisia as part of our global user event series. We discuss Eymen’s work with an international foundation, hear more about his PiktoTour events, and how he turns dry data into a visual masterpiece.

The state of journalism around the world has been in flux for years. Shifts in advertising models, all the different information distribution channels now available, and the shrinking of newsrooms have journalists on their toes trying to spot the next trend quickly.
hourglass-time-hours-sand-39396-6599042The Pew Research Center reported that newspaper advertising revenue has experienced its greatest decline since 2009, falling nearly 8 percent from 2014 to 2015.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The print media workforce has shrunk by about 20,000 positions, or 39 percent, in the last 20 years.” quote=”The print media workforce has shrunk by about 20,000 positions, or 39 percent, in the last 20 years.”]

The Bright Side: Mobile

The Pew Research Center saw that most of the newspapers that had gone digital studied in their report experienced a growth in traffic, especially in mobile traffic. Online audiences for newspapers are continuing to shift from desktop to their mobile devices. Unique visitors rose from 2014 to 2015 for the majority of the top newspapers studied, while average minutes per visit rose for half of the newspapers.

What does this mean for newspapers and journalists?

Staying relevant by creating mobile-friendly content is becoming vital in the race to capture readers’ attention. In addition, delivering content that can be shared on social channels while on the go could prove to be an increasingly powerful new distribution model.

Bringing Visuals to Work

When Eymen Gamha, a Piktochart user in Tunisia, North Africa, shared he was working to introduce journalists to visual communication, we knew we wanted to get involved.  

Eymen works as a media and security project assistant at The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), an international foundation. The group’s mission is to assist the international community by pursuing good governance and reform in the security sector. They have over 150 staff from more than 30 countries.

The team at DCAF have powerful stories to tell. They work closely with those in governments, parliaments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the private actors. One of their many activities is conducting tailored policy research. Guided by the principles of neutrality, impartiality, gender sensitivity, and local ownership, this organization communicates across 63 Member States all around the globe.

Eymen knows using visuals is a key component in sharing research with others.


“I am managing a website which gathers news about the reform of security sector in Tunisia,” he said. “There are many reports and statistics online about this topic, whether about Tunisia or about Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in general. Piktochart is helpful to create simple infographics which allow a better understanding of these long and complicated reports.”

Eymen points to his team’s website data as evidence that visual communication is impactful and attention-grabbing.

“The data I point to is the number of visit of our website following the publication of infographics made with Piktochart. For instance, the second most visited page (unique views) contains an infographic about the upcoming local elections. On average, our infographics get 350 likes on Facebook compared to 30 for normal articles.”

A Visual Communication Workshop for Journalists

Eymen and his team planned to host a series of workshops for journalists as a primer in online research techniques and use of metadata.

“I suggested to include a presentation of Piktochart which could complement other sections of the training and help journalists acquire knowledge about data visualization,” said Eymen.

His idea of teaching visual communication to journalists was spot-on. Others who study how audiences interact with online and print articles agree that including visuals into the mix is vital.

PiktoTour Comes to Africa

We first started our user event series, called PiktoTours, back in August 2015.  We were inspired by brands like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Unsplash, to launch an event series to foster community with Piktochart users.

Since then, we have had PiktoTour events in 20 countries with over 650 people in attendance. We even decided recently to launch a new Campus Ambassador Program aimed at providing resources and guidance to university students who want to bring a PiktoTour event to their campus!

When we met Eymen, we listened to how he used Piktochart each day, learned more about his work with local journalists in Tunisia, then invited him to host his own PiktoTour event. We couldn’t think of a better person to share the power of visual communication with those who could greatly benefit from it.

As an added bonus, it just so happened it would be our very first PiktoTour in Africa!

PiktoTourTunis and PiktoTourKairouan Workshops

Eymen decided to host trainings for journalists in two cities in Tunisia – Tunis and Kairouan. For Eymen’s workshops, he decided to make an infographic step-by-step with attendees.

“First, I shared statistics I found online,” he said. “I showed them an infographic I had created before based on the same data. I explained that creating the infographic wasn’t difficult – and now we’re going to make it together.”
To walk through Eymen’s steps, he started with this local article about prison overcrowding. Below is a summary of the article:

Tunisian prisons suffer from enormous overcrowding. In fact, prison overcrowding is at its all-time high in some prisons. The Minister of Justice, Ghazi Jeribi, is alarmed. Overcrowding has reached 217 percent in the prison of Kairouan, 216 percent in Houareb, and 192 percent in Monastir. As a solution, the government has considered adding 7,265 extra beds in the prisons by 2020.

The alternative to an otherwise text-heavy article might be to turn the excerpt into visual content. Our designers at Piktochart looked at the statistics above and created this visual:

Here is Eymen’s take on taking the information visual.

After the workshop, journalists who attended realized enriching their articles with infographics could dramatically increase their readership. They also realized that creating visuals isn’t as difficult as they thought it would be.

Eymen said participants enjoyed the practical aspect of the training that they could take with them to work the next day. Some even contacted Eymen after the training with further questions about Piktochart, infographics, and to share few tips.

“My advice would be to print your presentation or send it to participants, so they can refer to it when they start using Piktochart,” he suggested to other PiktoTour hosts.

Do you want to host a PiktoTour in your community? We’d be thrilled to add your city to our list of PiktoTour locations! Learn more about hosting your own PiktoTour through our Campus Ambassador Program here.

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