The Class Journey

The Class Journey

Organisation: Aftonbladet (Sweden)

Publication Date: 04/10/2017


In many ways, Sweden is an economic success story with high employment, and most people with jobs have been better off in terms of real income growth and improved living standards in recent years. Stockholm is a world-class, creative center for technology and IT companies. At the same time, it is a segregated city with rising poverty, strictly delineated along class and ethnic boundaries. Aftonbladet’s visualization Klassresan (The Class Journey) reveals and starkly illuminates the boundaries between rich and poor along the lines of the Stockholm metro system. We decided that we wanted to talk about, for example, differences in terms of income, education, housing prices, election participation and political affiliation, as well as the proportion of the population born outside Europe. We collected and structured data from Statistics Sweden, the municipalities of Botkyrka, Huddinge and Stockholm, and we contacted and interviewed people on camera, supplementing video footage with motion graphics. The result is groundbreaking digital journalism that manages to uncover the segregated Stockholm in a completely new way. Following a subway line – from the suburbs to the city – the project uses a massive amount of visualized data from each subway station combined with personal stories in info-graphic-filled videos to tell the story about a divided town. In Aftonbladet’s organization, Investigative Journalism and Digital Stories form two units within Agenda, one of the two principal departments within the editorial organization. The other is Breaking News. All journalism produced by Investigative Journalism’s reporters is handled to a greater or lesser extent by Digital Stories. The full extent depends on the choice of publishing formats and the complexity of the material. Many such items, including the digital giant Klassresan, are presented with all of the opportunities that digital publishing formats convey.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Klassresan tells the story of segregation in Stockholm by following the most segregated metro line – the red line – from Norsborg to Ropsten. Building on revealing data, personal stories and info-graphic-filled videos Klassresan manages to uncover the divided capital in a way that has never been done before. Klassresan was a pioneering project and the first of its kind in Sweden. The revealing data told one story, and the people along the subway line told other stories – their personal stories. Compared with ordinary news articles and reports where the presentation is boosted by means of Digital Stories, particularly long-read, statistics show how the latter gets Aftonbladet’s readers to devote far more time to reading journalistic material. Klassresan is among 2016’s most acclaimed journalistic efforts and has reached an audience of millions, arousing substantial commitment among Aftonbladet users. More than 900,000 people have accessed and over 1.1 million browsers have visited the Klassresan articles. Klassresan spurred a major debate about segregation and was praised for its powerful and effective way of telling stories that never usually made the headlines. We have received positive reactions from fellow journalists and ordinary readers, and negative reactions from anti-immigrant readers.

Technologies used for this project:

Klassresan was optimized for a mobile experience and a team of nine people from five different departments worked for several months to finish the project. The project included investigative journalists, video reporters, graphic designers, programmers and developers.
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