2021 Citation

A tragedy, calculated

Country/area: Brazil

Organisation: Nexo Jornal

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 8 Aug 2020

Credit: Lucas Gomes, Caroline Souza, Gabriel Maia, Renata Rizzi, Marina Menezes, Guilherme Falcão, Gabriel Zanlorenssi

Jury’s comments:

The work submitted by Nexo Jornal mixes serious data journalism and visual wit. It does not flinch away from using data to make readers confront the gravity and enormous scale of the pandemic. In fact, its strategic deployment of humor serves as a mechanism to keep the reader engaged and prevents the topic from seeming remote or clinical.

Project description:

The publication opens a series of five special articles that address the impacts of covid-19 in Brazil, at the moment when the pandemic reached the mark of 100 thousand deaths. The publication aimed to show the size of the loss of life that occurred in the country.

Impact reached:

The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest health crisis the world has faced in recent years and its effects in Brazil are still priceless. Five months after the first registration of a covid-19 case in Brazil, the country reached the mark of 100 thousand deaths. At the time of publication, it was the second country in number of deaths from the disease and was among those with the highest relative number, weighted by the population. This material aimed to give a closer view to the numbers represented in the statistics of the Ministry of Health.

Techniques/technologies used:

There were some team meetings until we got to know how to tell such a sensitive story, within a set of materials that the entire Nexo newsroom would participate in, until we reached a consensus to combine data on deaths from covid-19 in the country with images with a more direct relationship to the lives lost.

To approximate the numbers of people, we use means of transport with emphasis on the image of a train crowded with dead people every two days from June to August. Both the visual refinement of the graphic and the illustrations were drawn in Adobe Illustrator, thinking mainly on how this set would work on mobile devices, and only then produce the same version of it on the desktop.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part was to represent with empathy the tragedy. For this reason, we put two visual languages ​​together in this narrative. The visualization of data, where each point symbolizes a life lost in five months of pandemic and the image of the train and other means of getting around that are powerful figures when it comes to imagining how many people we have lost these days.

What can others learn from this project?

To represent events considering the individual value of each person present in data. To integrate data visualizations with other journalism formats, in a special publication.

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