Interactive and print visualisation project [Época]One of the main political conversation in Brazil is how candidates to the House and the Senate get the money for their campaigns. The main claim of many critics is that the biggest the funding you get from private donors, the higher your chances to get elected. The thing is that the data to prove that is a bit hard to get, and no one before has visualized that relationship. So we did it here at Época!
(click image for larger version)The main element of the online version is a tool that allows you to see the correlation between campaign funding (vertical axis) and number of votes (horizontal axis). We are representing just candidates for Congress (we will do something similar with other politicians in the future). There were more than 3,000 in the country in the 2010 election. The interactive graphic includes a search engine, so you can locate the guy you want to see, and you can filter, state by state, party by party. Additionally, the scatter-plot doesn't allow you to see rankings, so we also created a table (the Tabela tab) where you can organize the entire list of candidates by party, by funding, by votes and by cos per vote (an interesting number, there is people who, proportionally, spent a lot of money for each vote they got). This is something we try over and over - for each kind of question the reader may want to answer with the tool, the data should be represented in a different form. Our main focus is not to create something visually striking, but useful. At the bottom of the HTML page, we included several jpgs published in the print magazine where we highlight the most interesting cases. Also, data can be downloaded in Excel format, so any reader can play with them. So far, it has been a success down here. We had responses from readers both on Facebook and Twitter. Besides, it was highlighted by two important media commentators that happen to specialize in data journalism. One of them was Jose Roberto de Toledo, who made a video clip for the newspaper he works for about the story and why it was relevant. The impact has been more qualitative than quantitative (although it has had a generous amount of readers, Facebook likes and Tweets) - the relationship between campaign expenses and the chances of being elected had never been so clearly represented before, even when it was a common discussion in the media. We are gathering the data already to expand this and show same relationships with every single candidate in the country. Let´s see if we can handle it! At Época we try to use unusual graphic forms when its appropriate. In the graphic below I used a Philips Curve to display the co-evolution of GDP (horizontal scale) and inequality (vertical scale), presidency after presidency (color-coded), so you can see how the country stabilized in a continuous downward trend only with Fernando Henrique Cardoso (FHC) and Lula, the ones that put inflation and the economy en general under control: interactive work which presented the history and projections of the world population with a slider which allows the reader to explore the key milestones. Visualopolis blog. We also write articles in Portuguese for a blog of the Design and Infographics departments (they work together, but are separate), that is called Faz Caber ("make it fit", a local joke - it's a sentence that layout designers hear all the time) explaining how we do our graphics. The second current article describes the making of the politics visualisation project outlined above.
Visualisation examples from other publicationsSome other important Brazilian publications include Estado de São Paulo newspaper. They have a very, very innovative graphics department, and they did an excellent job with the 2010 elections, and other recent topics. Here are some examples of their web based work:
I've a number of volunteer reporters lined up from the four corners of the planet, but I'm always on the look out for more! If you've got any sort of interest or involvement in data visualisation, regardless of how professional or casual this may be, feel free to send me a visualisation story from your part of the world. It can be as long, short, complicated, deep or simple as you like, the remit is very much decided by you. I'm also looking to publish multiple stories from the same regions - there is great value from having more than one perspective. Read more about my ideas here or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.