Shifting Songs of EuroVision

Country/area: United Kingdom

Organisation: Reuters Graphics

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 20/5/2021

Credit: Michael Ovaska, Catherine Tai, Prasanta Kumar Dutta, Matthew Weber

Biography: The Reuters graphics team publishes visual stories and data. We typically cover all areas of the news, with content ranging from climate to financial markets. The team conceptualises, researches, reports, and executes many of the visual stories published.

Project description:

Every year more than 200 million viewers tune in for the EuroVision Song Contest. In its 65th year and showcasing artists from dozens of countries with shifting names and borders over the decades, how has the contest changed with the times? Reuters investigated. The result is this data-rich in-depth piece which parses every aspect of the contest from country level participation and performance to tonal aspects of “dance-ability” and valence among the most favoured.

Impact reached:

The project delighted EuroVision fans and introduced newbies to the basic rules and history of the contest. For the diehards, the piece matched an original analysis of decades of fan favourites with a clear trend between the underdogs who rarely scored points but occasionally lit up the stage to win and the heavy weights that consistently competed for the top prize. The piece also was littered with illustrations of the bold design and flare readers might expect to see on stage.

Techniques/technologies used:

Reuters used node to scrape the Spotify API, careful to correctly identify songs going back to 1975. R was used to analyze data on songs’ acoustic metrics and historical voting data. Graphics were plotted with javascript and styled in Adobe Illustrator then ported to page via AI2HTML. Illustrations were created in Illustrator.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Outside of cleaning and verifying the data our scrapers fetched, it was hard not to dance while making this piece.

What can others learn from this project?

We’re happy to be able to delight our readers by using the techniques we use on hard news to examine a fun cultural touchstone in Europe.

Project links: