An observation of successful statistical reporting

The Height Report by JOHN VAN TIGGELEN

The Age

Saturday March 3, 2007

John Van Tiggelen uses his own experiences as a Dutch (and there fore according to his piece) tall man as a commencement point for the illustration of fascinating studies into changes in human anatomy. He searches for clues to explain how and why his compatriots are vertically gifted in comparison to indigenous populations from other countries. He presents numerous pieces of statistical data seamlessly, in a conversational tone, peppered with humour.


After introducing his observations relating to his own height queries, he makes a joke, before switching into investigative and reporting mode. He poses a question about height, then looks to everyday folk to solve his dilemma, before steering his piece into an examination of scientific examinations regarding height. Ask a… (insert the occupation) works well to see perspectives on growth.


Van Tiggelen’s use of the accessible experts who have experience with height introduces his analytical enquiry from micro, through meso and then macro observations about height. He begins with himself, goes through to Dutch observations with local experience, then looks at the global community’s occurrence of height.


VanTiggelen uses a refreshingly down to earth approach when presenting his statistic heavy piece. It could have been dull and inaccessible, but her breaks down technical or scientific terminology into lay terms and uses humour to lighten the piece. His presentation of research flows well as mades the piece feel like he is on a personal quest because of the way he chronologically points out the discoveries along his journey.


I enjoyed his description of Holland as the land of the giants. He brings lots of issues to light I had never considered an aspect of excessive height, like the discomfort of plane seats, clothing challenges and medical treatments possible to hinder growth.


This piece is a wonderful illustration of how statistical data and reports can be the fodder for humorous, meaningful and personal reporting.






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