These candidates live furthest away from their constituents

These candidates live furthest away from their constituents

Organisation: Berliner Morgenpost (Interactive Team) (Germany)

Publication Date: 04/05/2017


In Berlin’s parliamentary elections, some 652 direct candidates are running in 78 constituencies. However, many of these candidates live in quite different areas than their constituents assume – as many as one in four candidates lives in outside the constituency where they run for office. Using information from publically available records, the Berliner Morgenpost has calculated the distance between where all candidates live and their respective constituencies. In the lead up to the election, the distance to their constituents has been presented in an interactive application. Through entering an address, the application lets users locate all the candidates running for office in their constituency. The Berliner Morgenpost asked politicians living more than 20 kilometres from their constituents why this was the case, and the candidates provided a wide variety of answers. All 652 candidates are presented according to distance and party affiliation in an interactive infographic. In video interviews, Berliners explain how important it is to them that politicians live near their constituencies.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

The application as a whole raises questions regarding candidates’ proximity to their constituents. Should politicians live in the neighbourhood where they represent their constituents? Does their geographic distance translate into personal distance from the constituents? Or can they still remain close to them and their interests? Although the analysis cannot deliver a clear answer to these questions, it indicates where the Berlin parties have based their top personnel, and how they make strategic use of the candidates. The application shows how the methods of data journalism, infographics, text, video and classic research can work together, thereby creating unique stories. The list of politicians that live furthest from their constituents should not be interpreted as a criticism, but rather as a podium for a broad variety of explanations, and incidentally provides insight into how Berliners determine who becomes a parliamentarian.

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