Alexey Smagin

Category: Young journalist

Country/area: Russia

Organisation: Novaya Gazeta, Rossia Segodnia

Organisation size: Big

Cover letter:

Hello! My name is Alexey Smagin, I’m 23-years-old data-journalist from Russia. 

My slogan is: always try something new and never forget to surprise. I think my profession is a perfect illustration for this words.

First of all, data journalism helps to find interesting knowledge about how our world works. In 2019 I worked for the most powerful opposite newspaper in a Russia — Novaya Gazeta and for the goverment news agency — Rossia Segodnia. I did plenty of works in very different areas: culture, tecnology, politics, science, demography and even judgement system. I figured out that the russian judges copy and paste texts in their judgements even when they try to judge different people; I discovered that there is no place for woman in most of Oscar nominations; proved that the screen became the most important part of mobile phones and got to know that Zelenskiy’s most important task for first 100 days of work was to fire all the wrong officials. I love my work because it gives me opportunity to know something new in every project.

The second reason why I am so crazy about my job is that it lets me to do very different tasks. I use Python to scrape and work with data, I write text sometimes, I think about project ideas, I make visualizations with Tableau, Nodebox, Datawrapper and the other tools, sometimes I even do design and use JavaScript to make interactive things. And I love that my work is not routine.

I am very interested in data-storytelling and have a channel in Telegram where we with my recent collegues write about data journalism: https://t.me/novaya_data


Description of portfolio:

1. https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/03/20/79929-sudi-derzhat-nas-za-bolvanku

This is a project about copy-paste in judgements. We discovered that copy-paste in Russia is not surprising thing: it’s not it is not prohibited and widespread practice. It’s very bad for defendants because judges can be not enough critical when simply copy text from their previous works.

My part of work: I made an instrument which could compare the texts, show a result and highlight the same parts; I write the part of story, was an editor of the project (storytelling and literary editing) and did most of data visualisation.

2. https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/02/23/79660-kto-takoy-oskar

The research about discrimination in Oscar. We made a dataset of all Oscar nominants (1929-2019) and manually labeled all of their sex and skin colours. Then we looked what is surprising about nominants’ age, skin and gender.

My part of work: All authomated work with data, 1/3 of labeling sex and skin colour, all visualisations

3. https://ria.ru/20190910/1558496214.html?lang=en

How mobile phones changed in the past 20 years? Analysis of 11 thousands of models.

My part of work: Idea, text, data analysis, dataviz prototypes

4. https://ria.ru/20190805/1557121163.html?lang=en

Russian family portrait. To create this project we used big data (a lot of sociological polls, ~3000 questions, about 1Gb of data) and official statistics to dig deeper what Russian family is.  

My part of work: data analysis

5. https://ria.ru/20190827/1557943159.html

100 days of Vladimir Zelensky. I used textual analysis to define topics of new Ukrainian president’s decrees

My part of work: idea, data analysis, text, dataviz prototypes

6. https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/07/03/81119-melkie-prestupniki

It is a work about absurd situations when some goverment manager (chief medical officer eg) gets fine (not getting hospital litter away eg), don’t pay it and became a real criminal.

My part of work: data analysis, text editing, all the vizualizations

7. https://ria.ru/20190827/1557791436.html

Faces and genres of Russian cinema from 1992.

My part of work: data analysis, some dataviz prototypes

Project links: