Nexo’s Coverage of the Brazilian Elections with Data Visualization

Entry type: Portfolio

Country/area: Brazil

Publishing organisation: Nexo Jornal

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

Nexo is a Brazilian digital news outlet established in 2015 with the goal of providing context to the news. It has a Graphics section and team since the beginning, aiming to increase data literacy in Brazil and increase access to data and statistics.

Data Visualization is the core focus of the Graphics Team. We apply the visual approach to every possible topic, covering a wide range of subjects, mainly about Politics, Environment, Science, Culture, and Entertainment.

At Nexo, we work collaboratively on all our publications, and no single person is the only responsible for any piece of work. To manage the variety of tasks with a small team, we divide our efforts into two subgroups: one focused on design and the other on data science. This division is flexible and can adapt to the needs of each project, but it allows us to efficiently handle a wide range of topics.

We have been present on Sigma’s shortlist since its beginning, for single projects and a portfolio. In 2021, we received an honorary mention for a publication on Covid-19.

Description of portfolio:

The Brazilian General Elections in 2022 were a pivotal moment in the country’s history, as voters had the opportunity to decide on the continuation of the Jair Bolsonaro administration. The protection of the Amazon Rainforest was a key issue that divided candidates, making the elections a tense and significant momentalso for the world.

For the news outlet like Nexo, it was also one of the highest peaks for audience engagement. The campaign officially began in August, and from then on, readership increased.

Until the results of the second round (at the end of October), almost all of our graphics materials were focused on the Brazilian elections. They are generally identified by their orange teasers and color palette in our website.

The visual identity is a central is a central part of any planned coverage and portfolio, and in a Electoral coverage it is even more relevant. Bad choices of color and visualizations can be deceitful and mislead readers in a sensitive topic.

We covered all possible topics, from the general profile of candidates (race and gender, mainly) to party alignments, expenditures on Google Ads, campaign donations, etc. With a small team, we published more than 40 publications (the 10 links here are a selection of them). That volume is comparable or even superior to the data coverage of large newsrooms in Brazil.

**Planning was essential**

To accomplish that, planning was essential. We divided the coverage in different moments: pre-electoral, electoral and results coverage. The latter being the most critical moment. Brazil adopts Electronic Ballots and all the results were available within few hours. In the 24 hours after polls close, we produced almost the same quantity of a month of work.

Some contents were “pre-made”, we just changed numbers in the electoral day, and others demanded a quick response and midnight work from our team. The order of publication was also unpredictable and demanded some flexibility.

**No paywall and everything on Social Media too**

One important thing to note is that all of our Electoral contents, with no exception, were adapted to social media. We also adopted this social media strategy to increase the number of people impacted by our work, specially in a place where misinformation spreads quickly. Bring high quality data visualization to social media was our way to fight fake news.

We had six Graphics publications on Nexo’s Instagram with more than 10k likes, with the most liked with 45k (Resultado das eleições presidenciais no 1º turno de 2022). Which is a lot, considering that we are a small newsroom.

We cannot publicly disclose audience numbers, but the number of readers on the website increased. The newspaper took off the paywall from its Electoral coverage and the demand. In our specialized newsletter, the open rate stayed around 30%, however the number of clicks on links doubled in the two special editions, in October and November.


Regarding technologies, we used mainly Adobe Illustrator and R. Interactive contents were made using JavaScript. In 2022, was also the first time that we get data directly from Superior Electoral Court server (and not from third-party applications). We shared the code we used for it on Twitter in the Electoral Day to facilitate access to information.

Project links: