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:
- The European Union is ageing and the economic weight of pension system is starting to put some economies in trouble. The reform of the system of retirement provisions has become an issue in several countries, particularly in Spain. I analysed data from the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the European Commission to explain how medium age will grow in the whole world in the coming decades, and how that will affect pension systems. I also included some possible solutions and identified effective measures developed by some governments.
- The pandemic soon attracted our attention and I published two related articles: one telling the problems the liberalised health system of the United States could cause and another on the impact the American retirement from the WHO funding could have on the organization.
- The analysis of the evolution of European vineyards in the last two decades was probably the most special project of the year for me. Making use of Copernicus’ CORINE Land Cover data, I concluded that the EU lost 15% of its vineyards since 2001 while tripled the economic value of its exports of wine. I called it “the revolution of European wine” and found the insights particularly interesting.
- 2020 was a difficult year for the Spanish monarchy and I decided to investigate the financial aspects of the rest of European royal families. More transparency was needed in the majority of cases and I reflected it in my article, together with a comparison of the salary and costs of European monarchies.
- A boom of amateur porn sites such as Onlyfans followed the pandemic. People who never had a contact with the porn industry before started to upload erotic content from their homes and they had a lot of success. I talked to several creators and analysed web traffic to Onlyfans.
- I was impressed by the fact that The Netherlands always appeared at the top in the ranks of food exports, in spite of its small size. I dug on the issue and discover something called “the Amsterdam effect”: the Netherlands are specialised in the re-export of food, they buy a lot of food in order to sell it again to a different country, so their volume of trade is overestimated. It was hard to collect the data that demonstrated such a complex industry.
- Poland is known for its strong Catholic tradition, but young Poles are starting to question an old and regressive institution.
- I was curious about what happened to remittances during the pandemic. They resisted in a way nobody expected, especially in Latin America, and I used World Bank data to explain the trend.
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.