Adrián Blanco's Data Journalism Portfolio

Adrián Blanco's Data Journalism Portfolio

Organisation: El Confidencial (Spain)

Publication Date: 04/10/2017


Size of team/newsroom:large


Adrián Blanco is a data journalist at Spanish newspaper El Confidencial. He has responsibilities in data journalism and data visualization, developing projects like a register of violence cases against women, in investigative journalism, keeping tack of deported immigrants in Europe, and in fact-checking at ‘La Chistera’. He is part of El Confidencial Data team, integrated by Daniele Grasso and Jesús Escudero.

He is also teaching data mining in an MA in Data Journalism at Centro Universitario Villanueva. This syllabus shows the students the power of statistical techniques and data analysis applied to journalism. He founded a meetup group called Journocoders Madrid, with the objective of passing on the knowledge acquired on basic coding skills to other journalists.

Adrián usually covers politics, economics and EU affairs topics. He works in daily basis articles and in long term investigative projects. Some projects he has developed during the last year are:

Femicides in Spain

A data journalism project to track and denounce the increasing number of femicides in Spain. The database was created from scratch extracting the data from articles from different media outlets. All the numbers and information were double-checked with the aggregated registers of the Government.

EU Frontex investigative example

An investigation of the policy and process that the EU country members follow behind the scenes to deport immigrants in an irregular situation. The data comes from a Freedom of Information Act to the EU and was used to trace the routes followed, the money invested and the EU member countries involved in these operations. The investigation is completed with an interview with an irregular immigrant, who has avoided deportation two times, to understand how is the process from a human perspective.

La Chistera

La Chistera is a fact checking project to check factual assertions of public figures to determine the veracity of their statements. It also provides an important added value, it includes a feature to correct the assertion of the politician.

How did the Spaniards vote?

A data analysis about how sociodemographics factors affected to vote in the last Spanish general election in June. The analysis is completed with a decision tree, a statistical analysis created with R, to show which factors influenced more the vote in the different regions of Spain.


An investigative piece about the meeting that DG Trade maintained with lobbyists, companies and other actors. The data comes from a Freedom of Information Act to the European Commission. After cleaning and analyzing the numbers, he categorised each of these meetings to show which actors were leading the discussion during the negotiations.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

At an early age, Adrián Blanco represents a new emerging generation of journalists who offer a solution to the current model of Spanish journalism going beyond clicks and investing their efforts in data and investigative techniques. The ability to deal with complex data sources of information is a must in the current journalism model to understand, deal with and explain what is going on to readers.

He is able to manage complex and huge datasets to extract insights, and offer context and value to the reader. With his skills he offers support to other journalists in the newsroom to work in stories which require database management or need support of a data visualization. Also, he works with computer engineers and designers to develop innovative storytelling projects. He is a dual mixed profile of journalist who writes also code and supports his work in facts, numbers and statistical knowledge, very useful for the newsroom and whose analytical articles are demanded by new audiences.

Technologies used for this project:

As a data journalist, for data analysis he usually works with Excel and R. In concrete cases in which the database is huge he works with SQL.

Regarding data visualization, he uses Illustrator combined with NYT's ai2html plugin, to create static data visualizations for the web. Apart from that, he has some knowledge of Python to manage APIs and scrape structured websites. He has also worked with D3 Javascript library to create interactive graphics. He creates and visualizes his own maps using QGIS and stylizing them with Illustrator. He has some knowledge of Leaflet, a Javascript library to create interactive maps.

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