What is your personal inflation rate?
Entry type: Single project
Publishing organisation: The Straits Times
Organisation size: Big
Publication date: 2022-12-16
Authors: Joyce Lim – Journalist
Christopher Udemans – Digital Graphics Journalist
Alex Lim – Data Visualisation Developer
Rodolfo Pazos – Interactive Graphics Editor
The Straits Times digital graphics team is a multi-disciplinary team focused on creating high-quality data-driven and visuals projects for editorial. Our audience are mostly Singaporeans from all walks of life, so we balance innovation and functionality for all of our projects.
An interactive that breaks down the topic of inflation in Singapore and allows readers to derive context from the lens of their own personal spending behaviour.
The project demonstrated how collaboration within and beyond the newsroom can produce stronger journalism than any one party can produce alone. The graphics and business teams at ST worked with an economist to make approachable a complex topic in an engaging and unconventional format. The piece attracted the attention of the Singapore Ministry of Finance and gave readers a fresh take on a familiar news topic.
The project was built using Svelte and was one of our team’s first published pieces using the framework. The transition is an opportunity for our team to explore improvements in page performance and technical trends in the industry. It has also prompted us to review our backend workflows for publishing and maintaining projects. Data visualisation was largely built with D3.js, and the project introduced a new component for our article template to display small-multiple charts.
Context about the project:
Building the inflation calculator required an endless number of checks and edits. We needed to make sure that our formulas were correct, our methodology was sound, and our presentation was clear enough for the average reader to follow. We had to ask how much we should simplify the content while staying accurate and thorough in our analysis. And, as the final step, were all of our calculations computing properly in the final implementation? After all of the user testing and bug fixes, the interactive presents a smooth user experience that places the reader into the numbers and provides context made possible by data-driven storytelling.
What can other journalists learn from this project?
When you collaborate with partners inside and outside the newsroom, you increase the potential to produce strong work but also the chance of encountering friction between stakeholders. While the project went through its iterations, we gained a better sense of the structure and narrative of the piece. However, some of the changes involved reworking components that had already been built — resulting in delays to our publishing timeline. Clear communication and the setting of expectations at the beginning of a project — especially with non-technical stakeholders — can help to facilitate a smoother, more efficient experience when working collaboratively across teams.