Data journalism website of the year: The Guardian

Data journalism website of the year: The Guardian

Organisation: The Guardian (United Kingdom)

Publication Date: 04/12/2016


Size of team/newsroom:large


In late 2014, The Guardian created two new desks in the newsroom with the mission to enhance its data journalism: The Data Projects team and the Visuals team. In the early months of 2015, both teams, then fully assembled, began to produce a new brand of data-driven stories.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Ahead of the May election in the UK, we produced a collection of data visualisations and interactive presentations—all fully responsive and updated in real time across web and apps. One of those pieces, our “Can you form a stable government?” piece was conceived as a phone game from the outset. In September, we launched Unaffordable Country, a series of stories and a comprehensive interactive that looked at the very contentious issue of the lack of affordable housing across the United Kingdom. In December, after the UK’s Parliament approved airstrikes in Syria, we devised a live tracker paired with analysis of the effectiveness of those strikes using data from the military and a massive database of conflict events and changes in areas of control by The Carter Center. In January, the Guardian looked at the complexities of the NHS in another example of extensive use of data-driven storytelling devices, creating a dashboard and a quiz to examine how much the NHS is spending, and how much you personally cost them. In March, we worked with the LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg to give the most comprehensive and accurate portrait of the financial tribulations of Generation Y/Millennials. In April, we published an investigation based on the massive Mossack Fonseca leak, known as the ‘Panama Papers’. Data and visual storytelling were integral to the reporting and the presentation of the findings. The repercussions of the investigations were immediate: Iceland's PM stepped aside; Uefa's offices were raided; Putin dismissed the Panama Papers as a plot; Cameron's father's secret offshore fund had an impact on UK politics. The emphasis on data analysis as a tool to find the stories and a newly revived emphasis on visual storytelling have become part of The Guardian’s DNA. Data-driven visual journalism is no longer isolated or siloed in a blog or a vertical, it is now a firm part of the reporting toolset of the newsroom.

Technologies used for this project:

Javascript (and attendant libraries), HTML/CSS, the Adobe suite, QGIS, Python, Ruby, SQL, OpenOffice, Google docs and Google sheets are just a few of the tools we use to tell better stories.
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