BBC News Visual journalism data projects

BBC News Visual journalism data projects

Organisation: BBC News Visual Journalism team (United Kingdom)

Publication Date: 04/09/2015


In the past year the BBC News Visual Journalism team has dedicated extra resources to data journalism projects. In May we created a small data unit of three journalists, a data analyst / developer and a designer specifically to focus on data projects that have a global appeal and can be translated into a number of different languages for our World Service sites. The team originates and produces one global data project each month and - often working with others in the wider team – also originates and produces visualisations, apps and data-led storytelling aimed at our UK audience too. We design and develop our content mobile first and for global projects also for right to left languages. All visualisations should work well across a range of browsers, screen sizes and devices. We have brought together ten of our projects which show the quality and variety of our work published in 2014 and 2015. Topics covered here range from sport to refugees and includes healthcare, jihadism, care for the elderly, politics, wealth and domestic violence. 1. Jihadis: Tacking a deadly month of attacks With this unique project we sought to find out the scale and geographical distribution of those groups, networks and individuals pursuing violence in the name of jihad. Where are they active and what is the human cost of their actions? We discovered that more than 5,000 people were killed by jihadist groups in one month across 14 countries. 2.Election 2015: Mapping constituency opinion polls National polling indicates parties’ overall standings but cannot reflect what is happening in marginal seats and other areas of specific interest such as Scotland. The aim of the constituency polling map is to allow the audience to explore recent local-level polls of 157 constituencies and to compare the data with the 2010 general election results. While each poll is a snapshot, not a prediction, together they provide an insight into some of the key battlegrounds ahead of 7 May. 3. Care in the UK: The costs you face BBC Cost of Care is an agenda-setting project and a key part of BBC news coverage of social care in the UK. A care index and calculator are unique resources which provide users and viewers with personally relevant information on how a new cap on care costs will affect older people when it comes into force in England in 2016. 4. Surviving childhood in Africa This project sought to tell a good news story from Africa - to show how Malawi, a relatively poor country, had managed to dramatically reduce the number of children dying before the age of five from preventable causes. By focusing on the experience of one African nation we hoped to put the story of child-mortality in Africa into context. 5. NHS Winter tracker This project tracked waiting times in accident & emergency departments during the winter months - a time when the A&E departments face more pressure than normal. The app allowed users to track the performance of their nearest trust and was updated each week as new figures for the NHS in England were released. Figures for the rest of the UK were also published but were not available as frequently as those for England. The app formed the spine of the BBC NHS Winter coverage and was trailed on TV news. Wider coverage included TV, radio and line reports and an NHS Winter facebook page. 6. Tracking Britain’s jihadists About 600 people from the UK are believed to have travelled to Syria or Iraq to either fight for or support jihadist organisations. This BBC investigation, conducted over three months, attempted to set out what was known about those individuals, and so give insight into what is likely to be a long-running issue. 7. Which sport are you made for? Take our 60 second test Our project was designed to drive up public participation in sport. To do this we used the buzz around Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games as a backdrop and set off to match our readers with a sport from the Glasgow games which would be the best fit for them. It was our hope that this would inspire people to take up a new sport or re-kindle a love of a sport that they had not played since their schooldays. 8. How long would it take you to earn a top footballer’s salary? This app was designed to put the user right into the heart of a story and show how an individual’s wages compare with footballing superstars. It also offered a wider perspective by giving average income data for 116 countries. The app was extremely popular and was translated into six languages. 9. Domestic violence in India A incidence of domestic is reported in India every five minutes. This project combined statistics and interviews to reveal a detailed picture of the experience of Indian women and show that, for some, home can be “the most dangerous place”. 10. Syria’s refugee exodus As 2014 progressed and the Syrian war escalated, the number refugees fleeing the country hit three million. As the flow of men, women and children across the country’s borders rose each day, we wanted to illustrate their plight by highlighting the staggering number of lives destroyed. However, we also wanted to explain why more people left at certain times. To do this, we picked 8 key events that had resulted in high numbers of refugees to show the narrative over time, but we also illustrated how this broke down by region. The data showed how the largest exodus was from provinces that had seen the greatest conflict, but also suggested the largest departures came from regions with strong anti-government movements – thus exposing the increasingly sectarian nature of the war. The final visualisation was designed mobile first and worked across a range of devices.
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