BBC News - Data projects portfolio

BBC News - Data projects portfolio

Organisation: BBC News Visual Journalism team (United Kingdom)

Publication Date: 04/07/2016

Size of team/newsroom:large


We have brought together nine of our projects and features which show the quality and variety of work published in 2015 and 2016, as well as an aggregation of innovative data-led social media posts related to coverage of the 2015 General Election. The team originates and produces one data project about an issue of global interest each month, as well as visualisations, apps and data-led storytelling aimed at our UK audience too. We design and develop our projects responsively as more than 50% of our audience consume our content via mobile. For global data projects we also have to ensure content is designed for both left to right and right to left languages, as all are reversioned into multiple languages for BBC World Service websites. Big stories we have covered in the past year in innovative ways include climate change, the war in Syria and the UK General Election.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

At the BBC we combine innovation with easy-to-understand content, available to the widest number of users. We do this by explaining complicated issues clearly, often with deceptively simple graphics and text, using the technology to best effect. We rigorously device and browser test, so content works well on phone, tablet or desktop, in the UK or around the world, eg the 'Six graphics that explain climate change' summed up the climate debate and was translated into 19 languages. We regularly create popular news apps that tell the user something about themselves and their interests, giving them an insight into the story. Examples this year include: 'How equal are you?' translated into more than 20 languages, 'The price of football' and 'Will a robot take your job?' We also take an original approach editorially. In Life and death in Syria we did first-hand research on food prices in the country and showed fatalities data in an innovative way. In Life in a town called Mongo we visited the under-reported country of Chad to take a snapshot of how it had been affected by the millennium development goals. The day after the general election we produced a series of fast, original data features looking at the outcome - the ones included here explore the share of the vote by party and the increase in the number of women MPs. During the election campaign we wanted to reach young women and users between ages of 16 and 25 - and so provided social first content aimed at this audience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These included our data vis graphics strand #BBCGoFigure, Twitter quizzes, our offbeat Campaign Watch graphics, including Election Bingo and Constituency facts. All were designed to inform about the upcoming election and to act as a optional springboard into content on the BBC election website. The storify link above aggregates some social media highlights. NOTE: some individual posts may have appeared one or two weeks before 10 April.

Technologies used for this project:

Technologies vary from project to project but will have used regularly used QGIS and Python to explore stories and HTML, JavaScript and CSS for publication. Other technologies will include TopoJSON, Adobe Illustrator, SVG / CSS, After Effects, Excel and R.
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