Myanmar’s economy – a kitten among tigers
Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)
Organisation: The Myanmar Times
Organisation size: Small
Publication date: 11 Aug 2019
Credit: Thit Nay Moe & Aung Kyaw Tun, The Myanmar Times, Phandeeyar
This project is a feature story about Myanmar Economy that was compared by ASEAN countries. Myanmar is one of the lowest developing countries among the regional. This story has focused on the weak points of Myanmar macroeconomy like export, deficit, tax revenue, expenditure, foreign reserve, growth rate, inflation and some others. Almost in all of the indicators, Myanmar is the lowest. Therefore, I wrote the story which lets the decision makers in Myanmar know about the country’s current economic situation among the regional. And then what is our weakness and how to prepare for it.
This story has been published in print and online version in both English and Myanmar language. It has been shared 9.1 k on the web for English version and 3.6 k for Myanmar version. The Myanmar Times newspaper is one of the best media in Myanmar and it has been distributed all through the country and also has a lot of audiences including government policy makers, members of parliament, civil society, NGO, INGO and think tank organizations. Currently, the Myanmar Times has 1.7 million readers on the web and 4.6 million on Facebook page. This is the most-viewed stories in the Myanmar Times in 2019. And policy makers, members of Parliament, civil society and other organizations are aware of what the economic situation is.
I just thought this is the work of a business journalist. On the other hand, I have been looking forward to how to prepare for economic development and how to decide their policy and how to do the implementation process.
I have used Google sheet, flourish and data wrapper tools for the story. I have learned how to use these tools from the training of Phandeeyar organization supported by World bank.
Firstly, I thought about what story I should write and how to focus my story, what data I should show and then how can I search for data I need and where can I get.
After thinking about it, I started my project. I searched for the data from a lot of organizations relatives with my project like World bank, Asia development bank, IMF and government ministries websites.
I got the raw data from those websites but I did not get some of the update data that I want.. And then, I put those raw data on the Google drive and I did the data cleaning process on the Google sheet. Finally, I got the data I need but I was not satisfied because I didn’t get the update data for some facts.
When my data was finalized, I chose some charts for presentation. I have used the flourish tool for the interactive charts. I put those charts in my story.
What was the hardest part of this project?
The hardest part of this project is the data searching process and data cleaning process. For data searching process, when I need cleaned data, I can not get that although I try to get from a lot of reliable website databases. Sometimes, they are not perfect because I can only get some of the countries data.. Even I can get those countries data, they are not updated. So it was a bit difficult for me to use those data in the charts because I need a standardized data..
The other hardest part was the data cleaning process. It was very difficult for me because most of the data are raw files.
What can others learn from this project?
Since data journalim is the initiative in Myanmar, most of the journalists don’t know how to search the data, clean the data, analyse the data and visualize the data. From this project, they can see how the simple data in my story can be transformed into those interactive charts. Users can also see the insights easily through the visualizations.