RBC team portfolio: Series of data-driven stories from Russia

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

Country/area: Russia

Organisation: RBC.RU

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 31/12/2019

Credit: RBC.Ru staff

Project description:

RBC.Ru special projects team is focused on data since 2017 though every member of the newsroom contributes to the data-driven reporting going further back. We use open data and the information disclosure legislation to show trends and controversies and challenge the government’s narrative when that possibly serves public good. In 2019 our work and effort were invested in disclosing the data that is not published by the government. We generated both short data-driven news and long-term investigations to produce social impact and make the officials accountable.

Impact reached:

We discovered lack of medicines in different regions while analyzing thousands of government procurement contracts. That helped to provide patients with the medicines – before the officials made less efforts. We opened the data on HIV mortality and morbidity rates that was swept under the carpet by the Ministry of Health. We opened data on alcohol-related mortality that never was published by the officials. We made the Moscow government to admit the problem of low-quality asphalt material provided by the cartelized companies. We made local governments to admit that doctors’ salaries remain low in the Russian regions despite Putin’s orders to raise them. We found out that Moscow landfills are the biggest in Europe and showed how they grow rapidly to the wide audience to make people feel accountable for the amount of waste they produce.


We measure our work impact with thousands of views, government officials’ reactions and changes we bring to the local communities.


Techniques/technologies used:

Python, Git, ABBYY Finereader, Tabula PDF, Excel, Google Spreadsheets, Tableau Public, HTML, CSS and Javascript, Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Mapbox

What was the hardest part of this project?

We work hardly to give the the real-time response and the most proficient analysis to serve public good. We provide RBC’s audience with the profound stories based on data at rapid-fire pace of a news agency.

What can others learn from this project?

We teach people to open data to public as we participate in the hackathons, university life and civil activists’ conferences. In Russia not only the journalists can use freedom of information acts but also common people, and that is our goal – to show many people that they can hold the government accountable. 

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