Organisation: 93 metros for El Español (Spain)

Publication Date: 03/18/2016


Size of team/newsroom:small


ALMOST ONE MILLION PEOPLE COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY YEAR. SILENCE CANNOT BEAT THE NUMBERS. EXPERTS AND SURVIVORS SPEAK UP IN THIS PROJECT TO BREAK THE TABOO AND PUT THEIR STORIES TO THE SERVICE OF HOPE. 800,000 revolves around two main axes: a long 42-minute documentary and a website visualizing the conclusions of our data analysis. We organized the content around the six myths surrounding suicide: silence, age, poverty, gender, mental disorders and climate. We have done a fact-check on every popular belief about suicide accompanied by comprehensive data visualizations in an accessible but still rigorous language. Does talking about suicide cause more death? How decisive is the weather in provoking suicides? Is this a problem affecting more men than women? More old people than young people? More rich countries than poor ones? We collected and analyzed dozens of public and private sources, both national and international databases. We talked to victims and survivors: people who at some point tried to put an end to their life, and survivors who lost close ones -a husband, a son-. They show their faces in order to break the stigma and help others. We have interviewed the WHO’s leading experts on suicide prevention, and spoke to medical professionals and social workers who deal with patients with suicidal ideation daily. In order to provide consistency to 800,000, we have developed an index which allows the user to navigate between documentary and data. This innovation blends the video and the data presenting a lot of information from different sources in an organized, intuitional manner. By combining these two levels of storytelling, we address audiences with different levels of engagement. 800,000 appeals to both experts who can dig on the data and curious people who are being exposed to the topic for the first time, mostly through the documentary. The website received 41.018 unique visits between December and February, the documentary was viewed 26,217 times on Youtube, and our promotional tweet was RTd 700 times.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

- It is the most comprehensive project around suicide, an extremely sensitive and taboo topic, ever made. - We focus on the combination of data visualization and traditional storytelling on a dedicated website. - We mix appealing graphics with a cinematographic documentary and rigorous texts. - We made the documentary's stories and topics emerge from the data analysis. - We structured the stories around the six main myths or popular beliefs around suicide. - We created an index to make the user navigate between the data and the documentary. - We handled a delicate and taboo topic with data and sensitivity, making something as simple as the tone part of what makes the project special. - We analyzed dozens of public and private databases, processed the data and generated visualizations on the points that emerged as the main stories. - The visualizations are not static but interactive, in a way the user can select what is most interesting to them. There is a degree of personalization.

Technologies used for this project:

We analyzed and processed the data with Google Bigquery and used Qgis and R for support with visualization. On the frontend, we used interactive maps together with audiovisual content (provided through Youtube’s API iframe) and data visualizations in D3.js. On the backend, we used Ruby on Rails + Nginx + Postgresql. The infrastructure was provided by Google Computer Engine to deal with different traffic flows.


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