Nexo is a digital media outlet focusing on explanatory news in Brazil. It\’s a pioneer in this kind of journalism in the country, and the use of data and graphics is a key element of its coverage. Nexo\’s data team has five members — a data scientist, an infographist, an intern and two editors. Unlike many newsrooms in Brazil, at Nexo, the data team’s work is not focused on producing additional imagery for reporters\’ texts. The group is an independent editorial unit, with its own editorial assignments.
What makes this project innovative?
Nexo has been receiving recognition by national and international peers and entities as a relevant player in the field of data journalism and infographics. We have an infographics section with 3 weekly publications, covering a broad scope of themes, such as economy, demographics, pop culture, politics, sports and others. We belivie that we are contributing to development to the development and enhancement of techniques, methodologies and also improving Brazil's literacy for interpreting infographics and data. Nexo also has a graphics newsletter presenting our best publications in each month. For the best one, we present a detailed explation about the charts, tell how we collected data, contextualize issues and explain some statistical concepts for the general public. . And also contributing to the improvement in the literacy of readers for interpreting infographics and data, especially in the digital environment.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
Nexo has been receiving recognition by national and international peers and entities as a relevant player in the field of data journalism and infographics. We like to believe that we are contributing to the development and enhancement of techniques, methodologies and reach of this field in the country. And also contributing to the improvement in the literacy of readers for interpreting infographics and data, especially in the digital environment. Amongst the top 10 most read stories of Nexo ever, 5 were produced by the data team. It happens quite often that the graphics, when published, generate peaks of visualizations and engagement. Also, the newsletter "Nos Eixos" has a large subscribers base and an outstanding open rate (figures can be shared privately). Nexo’s work was recognized by Malofiej, a prestigious infographics award. Nexo won bronze medals in the ‘Portfolio’ category in 2018 and in the “Planned Coverage” category in 2019.
Also Nexo was elected "best digital publication" at the 2016 and 2017 ÑH awards, and bronze award in the "infographics/news report" category in 2018. Finally, in terms of diversity of use, our graphics are shared and recommended by politicians, judges, professors, teachers, and students of different levels.
Source and methodology
The team usually works with microdata. The main source of data are brazilian public institutions, primarily from ministries and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). Eventually, some data are requested using Brazil's access to information law. Other sources include web scraping, web APIs and data from international organizations (e.g. UN, WHO, World Bank) and databases built in connection with academic papers.
Data is entirely processed using R, mainly Tidyverse packages. Adobe Illustrator is used for static content and D3 for interactive visualizations. Google Spreadsheets is used for smaller and manual data collection and QGIS sometimes complements R in the production of more complex maps.
Marina Menezes, Gabriel Zanlorenssi, Rodolfo Almeida, Gabriel Maia and Renata Rizzi