Krisztián Szabó

Country/area: Hungary

Organisation: ATLO, Átlátszó

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

I am Krisztián Szabó, a data journalist from Budapest, Hungary. I work at Hungarian investigative newsroom Átlátszó, and its subdivision ATLO, the first Hungarian team dedicated only to visual journalism and interactive graphic content production.

Before March 2020, I had minimal connection to statistics, excel sheets or visualization tools. As part of my university curriculum, I attended a course that introduced me to the world of data journalism. My lecturer, Attila Bátorfy, is a data journalist at Átlátszó and the founder of ATLO, and based on my remarkable projects created during the course, he offered me the chance to continue working in the data journalism area with him.

In the past months, we have worked on multiple big projects together, including the internationally acclaimed Koronamonitor, which is a site dedicated to tracking the coronavirus through charts and maps in Hungary. Moreover, I was in a fortunate position to work on multiple collaborative projects with other companies and governmental institutions. We have created projects for the Municipality of Budapest (which is the capital city of our country), and for the Hungarian website of Radio Free Europe. I have also attended data journalism conferences both as audience and speaker.

When I start a new project, i try to incorporate a new method I have in mind. I aim to include more and more custom-built codes to the projects I am working on, as custom solutions both have a virtually nonexistent tradition in Hungary and it is an international standard, mostly in Western countries. For these projects, coding is preceded by a learning stage, since I have no official education in computer studies. I am intrigued by the technical choices that big newsrooms (such as The New York Times or Reuters) incorporate into their data projects. These give me inspiration and I try to understand them (and reproduce the basic mechanics) as much as I can. One of these is the scrollytelling method, which is both popular and easily consumable for the readers.

My ideas mostly come from current topics public life, although I rarely have time to bring these ideas to life. We have more requests for big project collaborations, and since ATLO is a project only run by two people (Attila and me), I have limited time left to realise other projects. Nonetheless, whenever I have some spare time, I look for articles with interesting approaches at visualizing data and I try to understand them, learn from them, replicate the codes from them.

With my submission, I wish to apply for the Young Talent category. 

Description of portfolio:

The projects I included in this application are the projects I worked on during the second half of 2020. Határon túli utcanevek Magyarországon (Over-the-border city names on Hungarian street-plates): My first project (that started out as a university project at the data journalism course) was published in the beginning of June 2020. It compiled street names in Hungary that were named after cities over the borders of Hungary, in the neighboring countries. It was visualizing a sort of national heritage, showing that even though the Kingdom of Hungary was broken up into several countries after the First World War, there is a solid connection between these areas, which is even visible on street-plates. The project got a larger than average feedback on social media, resulting in it being the most-viewed project of 2020 up to that point. Because of how well the project resonated with the audience, we received an offer from the Budapest City Archives to recreate this project but focusing only on the capital city. The data collection was done manually by the Archives’s employees, and the whole site was created by me, utilizing custom coding and Mapbox tutorials. The resulting project (Határon túli helységneveket őrző közterületnevek Budapesten (Over-the-border city names on Budapest street-plates)) received national feedback, appearing in not only online news sites, but on the National Television as well. There was another inquiry from the Municipality of Budapest for 20th August, our national holiday (Befogadó Budapest (Inclusive Budapest). It was to create a video, showing how people from previously Hungarian areas migrated to Hungary after the Treaty of Trianon. This was based on a project Attila Bátofy had worked on before, though the majority of the work (creating the video) was recorded and cut by me. The website where it was uploaded later was also my task to create. For the launch of Fadio Free Hungary’s Hungarian website in September, we have created a visualization, showing the past 30 years of the Hungarian Parliament (Parlament 30 (Parliament 30)). The charts themselves were created in Flourish, but the part that made it stand out from any other project was the scrollytelling method. Previously we have implemented scrollytelling in multiple map-based projects (Over-the-border city names on Budapest street-plates, Két lábbal, két kerékkel, négy kerékkel (On two feet, on two wheels, on four wheels)) and in a fully custom-made project showing the expenses of the past 10 fireworks of the 20th August celebration (named Játék a tűzzel (Playing with fire)), but it was the first time we have connected scrollytelling to Flourish. To perfect it, I have looked for inspiration in Carmen Aguilar García’s articles. The site was created in both Hungarian and English, so international audiences can learn the changes that happened in the Hungarian MP system. Both On two feet, on two wheels, on four wheels and Playing with fire are results of my self-taught coding studies. The former was the first actual project where I used any coding, let alone scrollytelling. As simple the project’s premise is (showing how far one can get from shire-towns walking, cycling and driving), as difficult the creation was for me, as I had no experience in coding before. I later updated the site to a better working code, but I include the original version as well. The latter was also a scrollytelling project, fully built from the ground up. Although it received relatively little feedback, I still cherish it helped me learn most of my coding techniques. Finally, one of our smallest project (Shape-Képek (Shape-Images)) was a fun project to work on (made in Tableau) and also published as a

Project links: