David Bauer, Marie-José Kolly, Beni Buess, Anna Wiederkehr, Balz Rittmeyer, Anja Lemcke, Joana Kelén, Leann Vongunten, Christian Kleeb, Eugen Fleckenstein, Haluka Meier-Borst, Pauline Martinet, Simon Wimmer, Sharon Funke, Lucien Baumgartner
The NZZ Storytelling Team is part of the editorial staff of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), a national daily newspaper in Switzerland. We are a team of fourteen data journalists, graphic designers and coders. We create graphics and interactives, we also tell visual, data-driven stories and we provide tools and templates for editors to do the same. Our teams aims at making the average NZZ article better – better in a visual way and in a way of telling stories in a more data-driven way. We do not aim at standing out every now and then with a big firework. Most of all, we support and encourage all of our editorial colleagues to make better stories. We have built the tool box called Q, which allows reporters and editors to create simple graphics and interactive elements for their stories. Q can be used by all editors to create maps, bar charts, line charts, image sliders, quizzes, tables and so forth. Q is constantly growing and getting better and easier to use every day and we like to think of Q as the team member of NZZ Storytelling that is available 24/7. We are giving everybody who uses Q helping hand and try to keep the qualities of all visual elements high. Besides developing and using Q and Q-coaching, we also research, design, write and build data-driven and visual stories and infographics of very different topics. For example, we report on important national elections. We have also published stories and visuals dealing with various topics, such as Roger Federers outstanding career, the mass shootings in the US or worldwide food consumption and eating habits.
What makes this project innovative?
NZZ Storytelling is unlike many other teams of data journalists. Not only are we a very interdisciplinary group of people, but we also always work for online and print and for all platforms. We aim at all our stories working on all platforms – meaning desktop, mobile, ipad and the printed newspaper. Also the fact that we have built Q, a toolbox that allows reporters and editors to create simple graphics and interactive elements for their stories, makes us unique. We support the reporters and editors at the NZZ, but we also create our own visual and data-driven projects.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
So far, we have created a large number of stories. Also, over 200 reporters and editors are using Q, and so far, over 6000 graphics have been created and published.
Source and methodology
When creating our own data-driven stories, we work with data from official statistic bodies, national and international organisations and so forth. We also gather data by scraping it. Verification of data and checks for plausibility are very important to us, as well as a thorough process of data cleaning, analysis and interpretation. Additionally, we display our methodology, whenever this is possible and appropriate.
Our interdisciplinary team uses many different programming languages and tools. Besides Excel and Open Refine, we use R, Python, D3 and programmes like QGIS, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and so forth.