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Reuters tell their most important stories visually. Many pieces follow a narrative driven expressly by visual journalism, whether that is unique data gathering techniques, charting and data walk-throughs, satellite journalism, explainer illustrations or immersive presentations.
Regardless of subject matter, project size, or reporting methods, data journalism plays a major role in delivering stories.
Making data understandable
One of our missions is to make complex or difficult data sets easily digestible to tell stories. Design is a key component of making difficult data accessible. For example, our project explaining “What’s in the skies over Kabul”, combines complicated subject matter and thousands of flight data points to clearly explain how different types of aircraft worked in unison to evacuate the Afghan capital. Our project on summer temperatures at the Tokyo Olympics also leverages large amounts of historic data to clearly explain the concerns around extreme heat at the games.
Getting timely information about the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine and putting the mountain of statistics in context for readers is at the core of public service journalism. Our COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker is a global effort to track the vaccine rollout plans of over 80 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Readers can see global and regional trends, dig deep into their own country, or read the statistics and headlines generated by our algorithm, fed by constantly changing data.
Another example is the “Anatomy of a Death Threat” project, a data investigation which shows how Trump supporters waged a campaign of intimidation against the state and local officials who administer U.S. elections.
The Reuters Graphics team is continuously thinking of ways to push the boundaries of reporting and gathering information, such as our coverage of the Kabul crisis and the series of projects looking at sand mining.
The team is constantly experimenting with striking ways to deliver our stories too. Take our project on rainforest deforestation for example. Animations show the actual scale and speed at which we are losing rainforest globally.
Strong emphasis on project design
Reuters pays careful consideration to the tone and subject matter as expressed through the design of the story. Reuters strives to forge a visual connection between audience and content before they have read a single word. The design and feel of each piece often reflects the tone and subject matter. This can be seen across a range of our work, such as the Eurovision project and the piece looking at bats and the origin of virus outbreaks.
Breaking news coverage
When major news breaks, such as natural or unexpected disasters, colleagues from all aspects of the newsroom join forces to work with the graphics desk. Data, deep reporting and powerful presentation create insightful explainers that give the reader everything they need to know about the situation.
Our job is to tell stories, and to further understanding of the news. We believe data, design, and narrative need to connect with the reader to bridge this. Reuters strives for this balance in every piece of visual journalism we undertake.
Description of portfolio:
Bats and outbreaks
As the WHO reached its findings on the origins of the novel coronavirus, Reuters explained why bats make such ideal hosts for disease-causing viruses. We visualised the universe of bat species and connected the dots to show the history of viruses they harboured, the intermediate hosts and connection to humans.
Flights over Kabul
A Reuters analysis of flight data explained the rush to evacuate Kabul following the government collapse and Taliban takeover. We revealed how helicopter activity shifted from embassy evacuations to movement around a secretive CIA base. The analysis revealed how aircraft played different roles in the complex effort. This in-depth analysis was produced on deadline as events were unfolding.
Reuters Vaccine Tracker
Reuters launched a global effort to track the vaccine rollout plans of over 80 countries and all U.S. states. We collected, verified and updated information on availability and eligibility as plans were announced and implemented around the world at a level of detail that has only been collected by Reuters to date.
In addition to the data feeding our tracker page, Reuters partnered with Amazon to make the data available to Alexa users, giving answers on their local rollout.
This project is part of a series of visual stories examining how a construction boom is driving unregulated sand mining around the world – eroding rivers and coastlines, disrupting ecosystems and hurting livelihoods.
Satellite-derived data revealed the scale of destruction at China’s largest freshwater lake. Reuters were able to visualise the millions of tonnes of sand sucked from the bed and shores, devastating the lake’s ability to function.
Reuters collected over 850 threatening messages sent to election workers. This visceral piece looks at the language and legality of these threats across a variety of forms: audio, charts and maps as well as an interactive quiz component to enforce the nuances in determining what is prosecutable and what is considered protected speech. This story is an unparalleled look at a targeted campaign of fear against election workers.
A Reuters analysis explained the critical issues surrounding the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the headwaters of the Nile River. The reporting and data traced how the project near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan has ignited decade’s old water rights issues.
Tropical rainforests are home to at least half the world’s living species, yet humans are destroying it faster than any other type of woodland. This data-driven story uses 3D animation and graphics to visualise the scale of loss since 2002.
Every year more than 200 million viewers watch the EuroVision Song Contest. In its 65th year, Reuters investigated how the contest changed with the times. Using the Spotify API, we analyzed hundreds of EuroVision tracks for their mood, energy and more. We traced the shifting arc of the contest, from the dance-happy hits of the ’80s, to the power ballads of the ’90s.
The Tokyo Olympics were held in a historically hot period for the host city. This rich data-driven analysis looked to highlight how the heat and humidity of Tokyo could put athletes at an elevated risk for heat illness.
500,000 lives lost
To mark the terrifying milestone of 500,000 lives lost in the U.S. to COVID-19, Reuters created a single long visualization to represent every single death. This story uses elegant design and heartbreaking detail to humanize a tragedy of unimaginable scale. Other newsrooms had to choose between showing the complete cost of the disease or highlighting the individuals behind the story. The visualization in this piece manages to do