Herald Insights

Herald Insights

Organisation: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)

Publication Date: 04/11/2016


Size of team/newsroom:large


Herald Insights is the first data journalism website in New Zealand media. It focuses on telling local data stories using open data. The aim of the site is to be a general news data journalism website, covering everything from electoral donations, to the road safety staff speeding and the rugby world cup. It is aimed at leveraging abundant open data in New Zealand which has been rarely tapped into by the media organisations and journalism community. The aim of the site is to inform and excite New Zealand audience about their data stories. We use data sets which can be seemingly simply at the outset, like population projections by ethnicity. A lot of hyperbole in the media focused on diversity, but our visualisation showed stratified diversity within Auckland - http://insights.nzherald.co.nz/article/aucklands-stratified-diversity Insights pulls readers into exploring and understanding data that has personal resonance with their lives. A perfect example of this is the most detailed burglary map of New Zealand. This data set was not available to public before and the publication resulted in debate and action of the Police Minister.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

The project is special because the size of New Zealand newsrooms means there aren't special teams working on data stories. This whole project, including the development of the platform, visualisations and stories, is driven by team of two people. Technically, it uses technologies similar to other data journalism sites - what makes it special is the variety of stories and visualisations, specifically aimed at audience in New Zealand using open data. It's the local focus and generation of stories from scratch that makes Insights special. We do our own data analysis and build visualisations focussed on engaging audience in their personal stories through data.

Technologies used for this project:

We built a custom backend for the data journalism site, focused on showcasing visualisations. Insights is an Ember JS app with a Rails backend - most of the visualisations are done in d3 and mapbox.js Ember JS, Ruby on Rails, D3.js, Mabpbox.js, MapboxGL
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