The record for number of Latinos in Congress was achieved with the help of districts with few Hispanics

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

Country/area: United States

Organisation: Univision Digital News

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 1 Feb 2019

Credit: Javier Figueroa, Ana Elena Azpurua, Mariano Zafra

Project description:

Most Hispanics win in areas where the community is more than half of the population, but since 2011 districts with less than 10% of Latinos are electing Hispanic legislators to the House of Representatives, mainly from the Republican Party.  We visualize who these representatives are and how the numbers have changed since 1990.

Impact reached:

We were able to show our hispanic audience how represented they are in their communities and whether this representation in congress is proportional to hispanic populations all around the country.  Since it is clear that the proportion of hispanic legislators is not equal, but much less, to their representative population, it gave our audience a window into how their voices and concerns are heard in government. 

Techniques/technologies used:

For this project we used a scrolly-telling technique to describe different representatives in the 116th congress that had just been elected.  We used Adobe Illustrator for the first graphic and d3.js for the chart and transitions to the scrolly-telling aspect of the piece.   We used javascript for the tooltips showing a more detailed description of each congressperson.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Doing the research for this piece, we had to come up with guidelines of what is considered a hispanic congresperson.  It was a challenge going back through the different congresses and determining whether not only did we consider them hispanic, but if the congressperson themselves considered if they were hispanic.  We needed to call many different campaigns to get clarity on this subject.  After that in the technological aspect of the article, it was difficult to align all charts and scrolling motion together to make sure there was smooth and understandable transitions for the audience to not get “lost”.

What can others learn from this project?

As we and our audience learned, it’s important to know how we are represented in congress.  We all want to know if our voice is heard in government and this visualization gives hispanics a glimpse of how this is not very proportional, although improving, in the present configuration of the house of representatives.

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