Mediacorp Channel 8 news data team

Entry type: Portfolio

Country/area: Singapore

Publishing organisation: Mediacorp Channel 8 (Free-to -air), 8world.com

Organisation size: Big

Cover letter:

Recognizing the importance of incorporating data analytics into news production and driving data journalism, Mediacorp Channel 8 news started a data journalism team in 2021, one of the first local newsroom to set up a team dedicated to produce data-driven stories.

Through collaborating with both public and private sectors, the team collates and analyses available data and reports on sustained or emergent data-driven trends. Some examples are Covid travel, dengue trends, inflation and also lighter topics such as how music consumption are affected by the pandemic. The stories run throughout the day for five different bulletins, with a differing angle and format for each.

As data-driven stories tend to be more heavy on numbers, the team worked together with the in-house Augmented reality team and presented the stories in AR format, to make it more appealing and easy to understand for the audience, also bringing a new dimension of news presentation. The AR data segment was well received by the public as they could easily make sense of the numbers presented with the graphic visual aid.

The team also embarked on providing exclusive online content, such as interactive graphs and a food price checker web application- a project collaboration with Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and Esri Singapore.

Besides bringing the audience through a new sensory experience in news consumption, the purpose of the data journalism team is also to equip a new generation of news reporters the skills to work with big data as a news source – an ongoing effort to move towards a future newsroom. The team of 6 journalists has undergone data analytics training courses and are continuing to hone their skills.

Driven and led by Evelyn Lam, the data team members include Wong Kang Wei, Tan Sze Shuen, Ngan Zhi Ying, Zheng Xin, Julia Nga and Wong Hui Yen. Although every one of us has a core role in the newsroom, we still dedicate extra time and effort for this passion driven project. The recognition provided by this award will act as a timely booster for the team to continue embarking on this journey of data journalism.

Description of portfolio:

We did a total of 50 stories for the various bulletins to date and have selected 7 stories plus 1 web application project for the submission.
The synopsis of each featured data story as below:

1.**How Covid affects Music consumption**: We use data to find out how the tempo and mode of the music preferred by Singaporeans changed during the Covid period and how music may help in relieving stress and act as an alternative treatment for chronic patients.

2.**Obesity during pandemic**: This story focus on weight management during the pandemic. We find out how much weight Singaporeans have gained during Covid and how this will in turn impact the number of Covid severe cases.

3.**Tourism during pandemic**: With the closing of borders, tourism is badly affected. With data, we look at how the industry and tourists preference have changed, also tourism is bouncing back after some relaxation of covid measures.

4.**Dengue in Singapore**: Through analyzing area data, we found out that 3-4room HDB flats are most prone to breeding Aedes, clusters also have a high concentration of elderly. We also analyze the effectiveness of Wolbachia over the years using data.

5.**Cybersecurity**: Some 500 images from CCTVs in Singapore have been leaked on the internet, over half are images from homes or non-public areas. Cybersecurity experts flagged that many Internet of things, such as web cams, have fallen prey to hackers, especially if the devices’ passwords are not strong or are default passwords. We also found out that Some 70 CCTV images showing PUB water pipes and construction sites on Jurong Island were leaked on the internet in the past 3 months. Cybersecurity experts say this means the webcams have been compromised and this could pose network security issues, hackers could even access the network to steal info or mount an attack.

6.**Gaming during the pandemic**: During Covid, gaming patterns have changed and we see a surge in education games download, creative play became the norm and games with socialising elements were most popular with children. Interestingly, the colours used in games during the Covid period has changed too, reflecting the emotions of game creators during the different periods of Covid. We also look into game addictions, where we observe a double increase for kids and more pronounced symptoms for teens.

7.**Makan Index:** Our data team partnered Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and surveyed over 2,400 food stalls at hawker centres, coffeeshops and food courts island wide. We found that prices of 4 most common food items – kopi-o, iced milo, mixed vegetables rice and chicken rice – have gone up by at least 10% in past 5 years. On average, kopi-o now costs 17.2% more at $1.09, iced milo went up by 20.7% to $1.81, chicken rice is 23% more expensive at $3.80, while 2 veg + 1 meat economic rice has gone up by 11% to $3.44. Supply chain disruption is the main reason for food inflation.

8.**Food price checker web application**: The web checker gathered food prices of 4 common food and drink items in Singapore, sold in hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts. Users can easily check for the cheapest chicken rice, economic rice, iced milo and kopi-o, according to their geographical location, which may come in handy especially in times of inflation.

Project links: