Unaccompanied minors in Europe. When the system loses track of them

Country/area: Spain

Organisation: Newtral.es

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 5/11/2021

Credit: Laura García, Cristina Pita da Veiga, Irene Larraz, Sofía Villafañe, Nacho Mozos, Adrián Maqueda, Abraham Carrera

Biography: Newtral is a media startup where we do fact-checking and data journalism. We are certified by the International Fact-Checking Network. We are a newsroom that works with developers and designers with the focus on facts, numbers and exposing those stories that need to be told. We have different work teams: fact-checking, Fakes area, Transparency (public money) and Newtral Data, among others. Journalists, editors and developers from different teams take part in special projects like Unaccompanied minors in Europe.

Project description:

More than 18.000 unaccompanied foreign minors have disappeared in Europe in just three years. The Ombudsman again pointed out in its 2020 annual report that there is no concordance between the data on unaccompanied foreign minors in Spain and those arriving from one year to the next. Experts in law and migration call for a central registry in the EU. In Newtral we have searched the data, we talked to experts and these minors, to present the numbers with an analysis and visualizations for the audience to grasp the scale of it.

Impact reached:

On Twitter and Facebook it has reached more than 100,000 interactions and has been shared in different audiovisual formats, with graphics, images and stories to enhance its journalistic and design content.

Tw: https://twitter.com/Newtral/status/1462701915771392004

Fb: https://fb.watch/avMyX57mHw/


It has also been shared by relevant organizations such as the ‘Plataforma Tercer Sector’.


In another network, Telegram, the publication reached more than 3,000 views.

TG: https://t.me/newtral_telegram/2340

On Instagram Stories, the story got 2.556 impressions and a reach of 2.525 accounts.

Techniques/technologies used:

We designed and coded the website from zero with html, css (bootstrap) and js. To visualize the data with illustrations and to improve the storytelling we used the scrollama library, but we also used javascript interactions (jquery) in some parts of it. To analyze and collect the use web scraping to collect the data and on Google Sheets we calculate the proportions for the illustrations.

What was the hardest part of this project?

One of the hardest parts of the project was to find the data. A huge problem regarding these minors is the lack of official data. We contacted experts, organizations that already collected the data in Europe (Lost in Europe) and institutions to obtain all the information but there isn’t official information for Europe which complicates the counting of these kids. Once we had all this data collected we had to visualize it in a comprehensive way, and we decided to merge data and illustrations which was also a complex part. We asked ourselves how can we make this situation “visible”.

What can others learn from this project?

This project shows the phenomenon and allows journalists to study it in order to investigate more on the subject, so people can demand governments to share more and better data. Journalists can generate a wider network among international media, something that Lost In Europe already does, but also giving it greater visibility. There is a lot of talk about unaccompanied minors arriving in Europe, what their social and labor situation is like, but we do not usually study why they move once they are already in Europe, which countries they want to reach, what their adaptation process is like. It is a project that uses data to better understand the context and the problems, and also tries to show them from a human point of view.

Project links: