2022 Shortlist

Adrián Blanco’s portfolio

Country/area: Spain

Organisation: The Washington Post

Organisation size: Big

Cover letter:

Dear 2022 Sigma Awards Committee, 

During the past few years as a Graphics reporter at The Washington Post, I’ve analyzed dozens of datasets and published dozens of pieces, hundreds of graphics and experimented with new ways for data to tell stories.

Biden nominated as many minority women to be judges in four months as Trump had confirmed in four years” and “More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people” are two pieces I have recently worked on that show complex analyses of hand-crafted databases, high-quality data visualizations and curated design.

Over this time, I have become a better graphics reporter, widening my range of technical and visual skills. From my position in the newsroom, I have tried to promote collaboration, knowledge sharing and learning across the Graphics team and the newsroom. I have been part of the onboarding process of numerous colleagues, offering support and solving questions, teaching them the systems in place and making them feel welcome from the very first minute on the team.

As a Graphics reporter, I always aim to create beautiful and well designed graphics that stop people from scrolling to take a deeper look and leave having learned something new and unexpected. I strongly believe on the use of highly curated visualizations to explain complex concepts such as redistrictingpolicy making or even election results that have an impact in our daily lives.

As data and visual reporters, I believe we have the capacity to not only react to the news with explainers, but also push exclusive content and generate our own databases where no data exists. This piece titled  “How the coronavirus exposed health disparities in communities of color” is one that I worked on at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. It showcases my interest in pushing for more investigative, highly curated and uniquely presented content.

I am fascinated by the possibilities the intersection of reporting, data and design offers to journalism. Not only do I put this combination of skills in practice on my own work,  but also advocate for it. In my free time, I have also mentored students and taught classes on these disciplines at Master’s levels.

Kind regards,

Adrián Blanco Ramos


Description of portfolio:

Dear 2022 Sigma Awards Committee, 

My portfolio showcases my goal of innovation and thinking outside of the box for daily pieces to highly curated investigations. No matter the topic or the approach, my goal when working on a story or graphic is to create a ‘whoa’ factor for the reader. 

In terms of presentation, I always pursue beautiful and well designed stories that stop people from scrolling to take a deeper look and leave having learned something new and unexpected.

Examples of highly sophisitcated data visualizations include a population change cartogram I worked on for the Census 2020 state population release and an analysis on how America’s demographics are changing.

The story included covering the abstraction of reality in the shape of a cartogram indicating demographic change thorough out the U.S.,  is truly unique as it encodes several variables such as population totals, shifts and growth. I followed a similar abstract concept on the second story where the mountains represent demographic change by county.

Behind the scenes, I have developed a wide range of skills to analyze complex databases, identify the most important patterns in the database and prepare the main findings for publication.

The analysis by race and gender of the federal judiciary in the U.S., as well as the investigation on the congressmen who once enslaved Black people are examples of sophisticated analyses based on hand-crafted datasets created in the newsroom for investigative purposes that I have worked on during the past year..

My portfolio also features a few courses and workshops on data visualization and data analysis that I taught over the past year. I find it incredibly rewarding to teach others and help them grow and develop their skills to become better reporters.

The original topics, attention to the detail and the technical skills put into practice to create these pieces are some of the things I enjoy the most while reporting. I feel strongly that this portfolio reflects my passion and aim as a reporter. 

Links to these stories and my work are attached. Please do not hesitate to contact me, should you need any other information.

Kind regards,

Adrián Blanco Ramos


Project links: