I am a journalist for The Straits Times digital graphics team. Since I joined the team in 2020, I have dedicated my time to understanding large, complicated datasets and presenting them through simple, comprehenible charts, maps and other creative visualisations.
My goal as a journalist is to detangle complex issues and explain them in a way that is accessible to our readers. In 2021, one of my focuses was visualising the urgency of climate action.
My biggest project of the year, “Saving Singapore’s Shores,” was a data story on sea-level rise in Singapore. We visualised different sea-level rise scenarios using 3D simulations and Singapore’s iconic landmark, the Merlion, as a scale. It was the fruit of several months of sifting through climate reports, discussions with researchers and finally building the 3D models and going through numerous revisions to ensure accuracy.
Throughout the year, I have successfully led the team in many quick-turnaround projects, despite working remotely and being based in a different country than most of the team. At the start of the year, I was able to set up Covid-19 vaccine trackers quickly. When Singapore’s decennial census report came out, I led the team in producing a data report in just two days. When the IPCC report was released, we also published our data story within a week of the report’s release date.
Over the past year, I have acquired a number of new skills in my toolbelt. From honing my design skills, learning new tools for data analysis, debugging errors much faster, to improving my writing skills, I have become a more well-rounded data journalist. I have also participated and spoken at several data journalism events and workshops this year.
I have also worked with several interns on our team, welcoming them and guiding them through, for many of them, their first experience in data journalism. It is also through interacting with them that I picked up new skills such as video editing, animating illustrations and creating 3D graphics.
One of the most biggest lessons I learned this year is the importance of collaboration. In order to produce compelling, visual data stories, a data journalist cannot work in silo. They need the help of beat reporters who are well-versed in their topic and the expertise of researchers in academia who dedicate their lives to the area. And of course, to get a project off the ground, journalists need the help of an exceptional team of designers, developers and editors. I look forward to working on more collaborative, innovative data and visual stories in 2022.
Description of portfolio:
- Saving Singapore’s Shores: An interactive 3D exploration of sea level rise as a result of climate change, it’s impacts on Singapore and possible solutions. Role: Project lead, data journalist and designer
Flying during Covid-19: When will Singapore’s air travel take off again? Role: Project lead, data journalist and designer
Three million masks every minute: How Covid-19 is choking the planet. Role: Data journalist
UN climate report: How much hotter can it get in Singapore in your lifetime? Role: Project lead and data journalist
Population census 2020: How Singapore has changed in 10 charts Role: Project lead and data journalist