Álvaro Merino

Country/area: Spain

Organisation: El Orden Mundial

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

When I joined El Orden Mundial (EOM) as a trainee almost two years ago, there was no data team nor graphic section in the newsroom. They were only focused on the political analysis of international issues, but wanted to expand borders and try new formats. Since that very moment, I have been the person in charge of creating a data journalism department to which more journalists could adhere in the future. As such, I have had to design the tenets of our work process, from the data treatment to the (graphic) way we present our conclusions. It has not been an easy task: I landed at EOM right from my master degree in investigative, data and visualization journalism, so I had little experience in the field. At that time I could get on with ideas at the national level, but having to think internationally, merging academics with journalism, presented a tremendous challenge.

In spite of the difficulties, I believe I have lived up to the expectations. I have mastered techniques and data sources and have come up with creative ideas. I am also proud of having established a data methodology and a visual style guide. In this sense, I should mention that, together with a cartographer, around three-quarters of my work time were spent on designing data visualizations (maps and charts) for our map library –we have published more than 250 visuals during 2020–, while the rest of the time was devoted to writing data articles on my own.

With regard to El Orden Mundial, I would like to highlight that it went professional just three years ago and, at the moment I joined them, there were only three full-time workers –the actual founders– and one part-time geographer. None of them was a journalist. We have become the reference media when it comes to international affairs and already count on more than 2.000 subscribers.

Description of portfolio:

I have collected nine examples on which I used data analysis in order to explain a particular trend or issue. In all of them I made use of data visualization to better expose the dynamics and the main conclusions of my analysis:

Finally, I have also included in my portfolio a map. As I mentioned in the cover letter, the map library is an essential part of EOM and probably the one our subscribers enjoy the most. Our best visuals are usually behind a paywall, and we invert a huge amount of time an effort on them. The map of the geopolitics of the Mediterranean is a good example. It combines a beautifully designed map layer with a deep analysis of the dynamics that help to explain the functioning of the Mediterranean Sea: ports, main cities, chokepoints, oil and gas fields, pipelines, maritime disputes, migration routes and military bases.

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