Lok Sabha 2019 – India goes to polls

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: United Kingdom

Organisation: Visualize News

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 3 Jan 2019

Credit: Simone Lippolis, Carlo Zapponi

Project description:

A visual essay of the Indian

Impact reached:

The project has been featured in several pages and social networks, however the most important impact was to empower the readers to understand how the different news outlets in India were representing the elections.

We were aware of the fact the thousands of trolls and bots were giving partisan (or false) views of India during the campaign, we hoped that giving a not-biased, and easy to access story of elections updated every day would have helped the people. We believe that, even if on a small scale, we have been able to reach the people and help them understand what was happening in their country during the campaign.

Techniques/technologies used:

On the frontend we used the latest web technologies as react and d3, to provide a mobile first smooth experience and hopefully 😀 easy and involving consumption of the data.

More interstingly on the backend, data is collected and analyzed by a set of web-bots

What was the hardest part of this project?

News in India follow their own patterns and way to say. We had to crack the language, acronyms, topics and name of politicians to understand the data better in order to decide how to visualize the data. We wanted to keep a fun and engaging visual approach and guide the user from a high level view down to a more details set of analysis.

In order to understand what we were working on we had to get in touch with journalists and friends from India to understand better some of the aspect of the Indian Elections, from parties, head of parties and their position (left-right or conservative-progressive).

Ultimately collecting the data and instruct the NLP engine to categorize tweets and news was the final part of this learning process.

What can others learn from this project?

  1. Immerse yourself into the reality that you are trying to visualize, first of all to visualize the topics in a meaningful way and secondly to support your findings
  2. Try to keep an unbiased point of view when you are trying to give an overall view of a political campaign

Project links: