Singapore’s National Day songs: 26 patriotic songs but which one hit the mark?

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

Country/area: Singapore

Organisation: Singapore Press Holdings – The Straits Times

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 30/06/2019

Credit: Alyssa Karla Mungcal, Charles Tampus, Denise Chong, Lee Sujin, Lim Ling Li, Ng Huiwen, Rebecca Pazos, Tin May Linn and Wang Yanhua.

Project description:

A fun side project to approach the annual National Day Parade in Singapore. Each year a new song is released by local artists, commissioned by the National Day Parade organising committee. We looked at all 26 songs musically to show their differences and decade trends by using the Spotify API.

Impact reached:

Reactions were very light-hearted and fun. There was a competition attached to the interactive to giveaway much coveted NDP tickets. Comments on social media were nostalgic, reminiscing about certain songs or totally forgetting about others. It was amongst our top 10 graphics for the year in pageviews.

Techniques/technologies used:

For data analysis, using R and the Spotify API. For the final project, we use our usual combination of Javascript frameworks like D3.js and Vue.js to construct the page. Adobe Illustrator for the images and illustrations.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Keeping it funny and not getting sucked into the musical jargon that many of our readers may not be familiar with. The Spotify API is very detailed and interesting but we had to edit a lot and use scrollytelling to explain how to interpret the data in a light way so it didn’t feel like an ‘assignment’ for the reader.

What can others learn from this project?

We really had to remember our audience and not make it overly complicated for them to understand otherwise we would definitely lose them.

Project links: