2022 Shortlist

Edit Gyenge

Country/area: Romania

Organisation: Panorama.ro, Are.news

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

I’ve been working with data all my life, starting with my first job as a journalist 16 years ago, during the period I worked as a consultant, and until this day when I managed to transform my passion for data into a business. It never felt more important and fulfilling than it is right now.
As a TV journalist, I learned the rigors of news broadcasting. Classic, but strong rules that were taught by experts who had been trained in international TV stations. Rigour, correctness, and a hint of creativity, just enough to color inside the lines when it comes to daily news broadcasting. The downside of television is that you need footage to complete a story. A simple spreadsheet isn’t enough, neither are words. When working, years later, for a newspaper things were slightly different. Didn’t need the footage, but still needed pieces to tight up the story.
It seemed like the data always needed a second or third party element to complement it, to make it visible. I first discovered professional data visualization 5 years ago, even though I have been playing with charts and graphs all my life, and fell in love ever since. My job never felt more important and with such a huge sense of accomplishment like it is today. When visualizing data, the only second or third element is your own creativity, vision, and knowledge. Of course, there are rules, things that make the difference between amazing data visualization and a bad representation. There is also a huge responsibility not to lie with charts and not to be biased by the data itself, but the outcome can lead to so much more than a simple journalistic story. Data visualization is a tool for communities, it’s a map of understanding the world in a data polluted environment. It’s a dictionary for building future knowledge by translating present facts. It means educating and offering insight.
It’s been 4 years since I’ve been building visual representations of data for national and international media outlets, NGO’s and companies and with each year I come to accept the fact that even though there are amazing people out there sharing their knowledge and offering guidance, even though I bought each and every single book ever written by data visualization gurus, it still is a solitary experience. With every new chart or infographic, I feel that there is so much to improve and so much to talk about, so many possible correlations. There is a lot of personal work and self-improvement in this field that seems to be aging, but it never gets old. Even with simple forms of representation like line charts and bar charts there still are lessons to be learned and things to improve. It’s a journey of continuously trying to make the data visible, visual, and valuable.
Making a difference never felt so achievable and at the same time so challenging. I firmly believe that achievements in this field are little pieces from which others can benefit from and that is a mission that I try to accomplish with every data visualization.

Description of portfolio:

Link 1
The first article is a visual representation of the total amount of elements from the annual production of electronic waste in every EU member state. More than 20% of the globally generated e-waste comes from the European Union. The visualization focuses on each country, a total of 27 Mendeleev’s tables were built to better represent the quantity of element production.
Technologies: Tableau Public, Microsoft Excel, Affinity Designer

Link 2
The second project is a visual representation of the number of seats obtained by eurosceptics in the last four EU parliament elections. The goal of this infographic was to see if there is any pattern that is likely to be repeated by other countries following Brexit.
Technologies: Tableau Public, Microsoft Excel, Affinity Designer

Link 3
The third project is the micro representation of vaccination rates across Romanian counties and the evolution of vaccination rates by the third trimester of 2021.
Technologies: Datawrapper, Microsoft Excel

Link 4
The fourth link is an interactive visual representation of county-level economic indicators in Romania. Each county has a separate page with a visual representation of infrastructure, population, employment and labor force, medium income, differences in earnings – women vs men, and number of firms/inhabitants. This is an example of data-driven journalism that lead to a tool for centralizing and analyzing socio-economic developments.
Technologies: Datawrapper, Tableau Public, Microsoft Excel, Affinity Designer

Link 5
The fifth link is a visual representation of each of the 44 impeachment motions against governments in the past 30 years in Romania and their impact on the stock market and national currency. The article was made with Andrei Luca Popescu, from Panorama.ro
Technologies: Flourish.studio, Microsoft Excel, Affinity Designer

Link 6
It presents a project aimed to explain why Romania was the second country in the EU with the lowest vaccination rate. In cooperation with Andrei Luca Popescu we tried to follow 5 possible scenarios that can explain this result.
1. The effect of the fear of death due to Covid on the intention to vaccinate (low excess mortality determines a low vaccination rate)
2. Conspiracy theories (where do Romanians stand when it comes to conspiracy theories?)
3. Level of education and understanding (are Romanians educated enough or self-sufficient?)
4. Distrust in authorities and the health system (do Romanians trust doctors?)
5. The contribution of extremist parties to the anti-vaccine discourse (is it possible that extremist parties’ discourse contributed to a general mistrust in vaccines?)
The Data relevant for each of these scenarios was represented in order to compare Romania to other countries and find out if the data supports the scenarios.
Technologies: Flourish.studio, Microsoft Excel, Affinity Designer

Link 7
An article made in cooperation with Elena Dumitru from Panorama.ro regarding the impact of the pandemic on every European state’s health budget. A visual representation of the source of medical budgets (social contributions, government deficit, insurance or out-of-pocket payments) and where did these these budgets go to (hospitals, nursing homes, providers, management etc.)
Technologies: Flourish.studio, Microsoft Excel, Affinity Designer

Link 8
A project built together with Andrei Luca Popescu that aims to present the armed forces in each Eastern European NATO member country, whether land, naval, or air forces. There are 3 infographics for each type of troops describing the country’s army logistics.
Technologies: Microsoft Excel, Affinity Designer

Project links: