The Generals of Gold

The Generals of Gold

Organisation: Noon Post (Turkey)

Publication Date: 04/05/2017

Applicant(s)

Size of team/newsroom:small

Description

The Generals of Gold is a project composed of 12 episodes where we present the intertwined relations of Egypt’s military generals and businessmen across kinship, affection, official positions, and benefit-based networks. Throughout the episodes, our network visualization and analytical articles show various conflict of interests and a systematic exploitation of the Egyptian economy favoring the ruling elites. The Generals of Gold project aimed to advance public awareness to a level where comprehending the intertwined and complicated networks of the army and its affiliates could be achieved. Complex networks and connected data are best presented in network and graph visualization.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

It is the first and biggest Arabic Data Journalism project in Arab world. It made to show how Army is controlling the economy in Egypt with all the political connections. The project was featured in the most Arabic Media Publishers and TVs as Al Jazeera, Al Araby and many others. It is also our first expirement to make more Data Journalism projects in Arab world.

Technologies used for this project:

We considered many open source and paid software, but at the end we chose Linkurious because of the following: Our main requirement was to have an end-to-end solution that covers our research process starting from direct data entry to the graph database (Neo4j), to indexed instant-search, to visual exploration, all the way to running analytical queries. This is all supported by Linkurious. Linkurious supports UTF8 (Arabic text in our case) in an excellent way. With a very minimal tweak, Arabic text search in Linkurious was enhanced by applying Arabic stemming, phonetics, tokenization, and other NLP-based rules. We saw how Linkurious was used for ICIJ’s Panama Papers. Linkurious’ great integration with Neo4j and the support of multiple data sources. It was important for us to have a tool that supports pinning nodes and embed their coordinates when the visualization is exported to JSON. Linkurious supports this perfectly. Linkurious’ instant geo-mapping.

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