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A Timeline of Media-Inflamed Fears (2000-2017)

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A Timeline of Media-Inflamed Fears (2000-2017)

A Timeline of Media-Inflamed Fears (2000-2017)

Modern media does not always have the best reputation for providing complex and nuanced commentary.

The news cycle is sensational enough when we’re dealing with the regular issues of the day. But add in some uncertainty and urgency – such as when the world is dealing with an outbreak like SARS, Mad Cow Disease, Ebola, or even Y2K – and each headline seems to get more provocative or speculative than the last.

Today’s graphics come to us from Information is Beautiful, and they show the intensity of news mentions for different topics that stoked frenzies in the media from 2000-2017.

Visualizing Ebola Sensationalism

We all make mistakes, but headlines for Ebola brought a new level of hyperbole to the table.

“Ebola in the air? A nightmare that could happen” – CNN (link)
“New Ebola Cases May Soon Reach 10,000 a Week, Officials Predict” – NYT (link)
“Ebola as ISIS Bio-Weapon?” – Forbes (link)

In fact, the outbreak in 2014 goes down as the most sensationalized events in the last 17 years.

Here’s all other topics scaled to match Ebola mentions (which go “off the page” in the first graph):

Nothing is even close.

By the way, it turned out that Ebola didn’t mutate into a scary airborne virus. The CNN article with the crazy headline even admits in the body of the article itself: “Speculation that Ebola virus disease might mutate into a form that could easily spread among humans through the air is just that: speculation, unsubstantiated by any evidence.”

Meanwhile, Ebola cases hit a maximum rate of 6,987 in a month, mainly because of delayed reporting of older cases in Liberia. Regardless, that is just 17% of the predicted “10,000 cases per week” rate reported in a New York Times headline.

Finally, as you’re probably aware: ISIS did not weaponize Ebola, either. Made for good clickbait, though.

Scaled to Death

When we scale the data to match total deaths, the sensationalism of many of the outbreaks is even clearer:

The death count for Ebola did eventually hit 11,310 globally, and Swine Flu resulted in 18,500 lab-confirmed deaths (and potentially many more). However, most of these outbreaks were relatively harmless in relative terms. The Zika Virus, for example, resulted in only a handful of deaths.

While having zero deaths is certainly the ideal, and many of the issues above should be taken very seriously especially as stories develop, we should be careful not to blow things out of proportion. Making mountains out of molehills does not help anyone, and it adds to growing distrust of media in general.

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Visualizing the World’s Flower Bouquet Export Market

This graphic highlights global flower bouquet sales in 2021 and how a few countries dominate the entire flower export market.

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Flower Bouquet Exports 2021 Shareable

Visualizing the World’s Flower Bouquet Export Market

For many, flower bouquets are the go-to gift choice when congratulating a colleague, visiting an ailing relative, or simply showing love and kindness to partners and friends.

And the global popularity of these carefully-arranged and vividly-colored bundles has led to the creation of a billion-dollar flower bouquet market. And demand for beautiful bouquets has kept growing, with global flower bouquet exports in 2021 reaching $11 billion—which is a 30.2% rise since 2017.

Louis Lugas Wicaksono uses data from World’s Top Exports to highlight the spread of this industry. In this image, he shows the flower bouquet exports across different countries in 2021.

Countries Trading the Most Flower Bouquets

Far at the top of the list and best known for their tulips, the Netherlands dominated the flower bouquet export industry in 2021.

RankCountryContinentFlower Bouquet Exports (2021 USD)
1🇳🇱 NetherlandsEurope$5.7B
2🇨🇴 ColombiaAmerica$1.7B
3🇪🇨 EcuadorAmerica$927.3M
4🇰🇪 KenyaAfrica$725.5M
5🇪🇹 EthiopiaAfrica$254.5M
6🇧🇪 BelgiumEurope$150.0M
7🇮🇹 ItalyEurope$140.9M
8🇨🇳 ChinaAsia$124.6M
9🇲🇾 MalaysiaAsia$90.5M
10🇨🇦 CanadaAmerica$82.0M
11🇮🇱 IsraelAsia$77.5M
12🇿🇦 South AfricaAfrica$70.4M
13🇪🇸 SpainEurope$69.6M
14🇩🇪 GermanyEurope$65.8M
15🇹🇷 TurkeyAsia$59.4M
🌎 Rest of the world$735.2M

The small European nation exported $5.7 billion worth of bouquets in 2021, accounting for over half of global flower bouquet trade. This dominance comes from centuries of being the world’s largest producer of flowers and being a floral trade hub due to its advantageous location and connections with other growers, suppliers, and wholesalers.

Colombia and Ecuador fall next on this list with their exports totaling $1.7 billion and $927 million, respectively. Roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums are heavily exported from these South American nations.

On the other side of the Atlantic, cut rose flower exports were the leading drivers for Kenya and Ethiopia, earning these African nations $725 million and $254 million respectively.

Together, these five nations contributed to 85% of the world’s flower bouquet trade in 2021.

Post-Pandemic Strategies

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the flower bouquet export industry remained resilient. However, this was not an easy feat.

Many florists embraced new strategies like online sales and free home deliveries, and exporters dealt with global shipping slowdowns. Some countries including Columbia and Kenya focused on producing flowers with longer shelf lives that could be shipped further away.

As we continue to drift away from the pandemic and global trade eases up, we can expect this industry to blossom further.

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