Alberto Cairo is a journalist and designer with many years of experience leading graphics and visualization teams in several countries.
He joined the School of Communication in January 2012. He teaches courses on infographics and data visualization. He is also director of the Center for Visualization, Data Communication & Information Design at UM’s Institute for Data Science and Computing, and a Faculty Fellow at the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy.
Cairo has been described by Microsoft as always “in the vanguard of visual journalism”. He is author of the books How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter About Visual Information (W.W. Norton, 2019), The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication (Peachpit Press, 2016), and The Functional Art: an Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (Peachpit Press 2012). His next book, which deals with ethics and moral reasoning in visualization design, will be published by Wiley in 2021.
Cairo has also written for The New York Times and Scientific American magazine.
Cairo has a popular visualization weblog, www.thefunctionalart.com, and his Twitter account, @AlbertoCairo, is followed by more than 50,000 people interested in visualization and data journalism.
In 2012, Professor Cairo created the first journalism Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in the world in collaboration with the Knight Center at the University of Texas. In the many editions of this course since then, it has attracted more than 30,000 people from more than 100 countries.
Between June 2010 and December 2011, Cairo was the director for Infographics and Multimedia at Editora Globo, the magazine division of the biggest media group in Brazil, where he acted as an executive editor for the magazines of the group. He has also been an assistant professor at the School of Journalism, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, between 2005 and 2009. At UNC he was also the James H. Schumaker Term Assistant Professor in 2008 and 2009.
Alberto Cairo led the creation of the Interactive Infographics Department at El Mundo (elmundo.es, Spain), in 2000. His department is widely considered a pioneer in online news. Cairo’s team won more Malofiej and Society for News Design (SND) infographics international awards than any other news organization worldwide between 2001 and 2005.
Cairo’s most recent award is a 2019 Sigma data journalism award (datajournalism.com/awards/) for a large investigative project in collaboration with Google and El Universal, one of the largest national newspapers in Mexico. Cairo’s students have also been recognized in international visualization and infographics competitions such as Information is Beautiful and Computation+Journalism.
In the past decade, Cairo has taught and consulted in nearly thirty countries. He has worked for Microsoft, Google, the U.S. National Guard, the Congressional Budget Office, and many other companies and institutions. He has been the keynote speaker at many conferences about data journalism, data science, and visualization, such as Microsoft’s Data Insights, the JMP Discovery Summit, Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy, New Directions in Health Communication, or the Ihaka Lectures.