Eight billion of us

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Germany

Publishing organisation: Süddeutsche Zeitung

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-11-04

Language: German

Authors: Sabrina Ebitsch, Thomas Gröbner, Stefan Kloiber, Isabel Kronenberger, Luis Mosch und Julia Schubert


Sabrina Ebitsch, leading data journalist and expert for topics on climate change, Thomas Gröbner editor at the Visual Desk, Stefan Kloiber developer of the Visual Desk is into interactive news stories, Isabel Kronenberger Webdesigner and Illustartor passioned about science, Luis Mosch intership at Süddeutsche Zeitung studies in social sience, Julia Schubert Infografic specialst and memeber of the Visal Desk.

Project description:

According to the UN, we have cracked the 8 billion mark this year. There have never been as many people as there are today. With this project, we wanted to highlight the differences between these 8 billion people and demonstrate how unjustly resources are distributed among us, the 8 billion. More people consume more resources, they want a share of the world’s prosperity – and at the same time, humanity must emit fewer greenhouse gases in order to preserve the foundations of life. In doing so, we succeeded in building interactive storytelling in which topics are visualized in a playful way.

Impact reached:

As one of the first interactive explorations of the 8 billion inhabitants of the world, both loyal SZ readers and newcomers enjoyed the project. Readers gained a better understanding of how unfairly resources are actually distributed in our world. It was widely shared on social media and also attracted the attention of professionals in the industry.

Techniques/technologies used:

As part of SZ’s research, SZ consulted all data available on the world’s population, demographic distribution, wealth, education, and how CO2 emissions are distributed worldwide. A design tool was used to visualize the data after it had been processed in R.

Context about the project:

In order to make this project successful, it had to connect the abstract numbers of 8 million people on this planet with a simple and accessible visual representation of how the other 8 billion fares.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

This project is a stellar example of how to communicate a topic by breaking it down for the reader to see how the distribution of resources affects them.

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