2014 Planned News/Events, Large Newsroom finalist

2013 Legislative Elections in Argentina


About the Project

LA NACIÓN produced a multimedia and cross platforms coverage of the 2013 parliamentary elections with a focus on innovation through teamwork, reusable technologies and database journalism as the fundamental tool to show contents in a new way and present the information transparently beforehand as well as in real time.

To add value to traditional press coverage, the 2013 Elections project included the development of different interactive and research pieces using data as the primary source.

Regarding Argentina lacks of a FOI law, we had to build every dataset from scratch. From scraping, converting from PDFs when needed, normalizing or even typing data. Then we open data as we report. This double effort is aimed to show with our cases that others can do it, anywhere in the world with free tools and a small team or just learning to ask for help.

Besides, partnering with NGO´s that covers electoral fraud using digital tools was part of our project.

So, these contents were included/ grouped in a specific item of the coverage called The electoral magnifying glass (La lupa electoral ). Journalists from all the platforms (online/paper/mobile) worked on the productions of this category. In fact, many of the works published in this space were generated by editors that were just trained in our internal Data Journalism Program, a special full time training that besides skill interchange, aims to integrate journalists with the data team and technologists.

The project lasted 6 months. 15 people participated. Even marketing and product areas were part of our team.

Selection of projects:

Newsroom research with data bases as the primary source:

1.1. Opposition candidates that seek to renew their mandate, with those most absent from sessions at the top

Journalist Laura Serra (Political section, paper edition) and the LNData team worked together to study the attendance records of 74 national deputies (members of the lower chamber of Congress). The conclusion the team arrived at after studying the data is that, of the universe of 74 candidates, the opposition legislators were the ones presenting the highest rates of absenteeism in the last three and a half years.

1.2. X-ray of 16 candidates according to their behavior relative to 10 key laws

Journalist Lucrecia Bullrich (Political section, paper edition) together with LNData team did research to evaluate how legislators that were running for reelection voted; and how was the debate on those bills between 2009 and the present. The team selected 10 important laws voted between 2009 and 2013, and analyzed the vote of 26 national deputies (Voters under 18 ask for more training) that competed for reelection in the lower chamber or for a seat in the Senate.

Interactive pieces with data:

2.1. The Political labyrinth

Political labyrinth is an application created specifically to visualize the political story of the main candidates in the October 2013 legislative elections, discovering past alliances, contradictions and party churns. Also the reader could choose the circuit for several candidates and compare and find coincidences or divergences from the past.

2.2. Congress seats in real time:

At the time of the election interactive pieces were produced to see in real time the results in a new way, with databases previously created. For example, the seats in the Deputies and Senators chambers were completed live with the complete names and political parties of those that won them as soon as the electoral results were in. The political orientation colors “colored” in real time the balance of power between the parties in the new Congress.

2.3. The new electoral map, live:

An interactive map showed live the results with multiple layers of analysis, according to what the reader was looking for: for the whole country, by province, by district, and even by neighborhood or commune. At each level the order of the parties was presented with bars and also the description (with name and last name) of the legislators that won seats and those that did not in each district, with the possibility of seeing according to the colors how the new political map of Argentina was being defined in real time.

2.4. Map of electoral fraud, live:

Ser Fiscal – Mapa del Delito Electoral 2013 was a map project created by Red Ser Fiscal (NGO) using Ushahidi Crowdmap platform and supported by Knight Mozilla OpenNews Fellow 2013, Manual Aristaran, for La Nacion

2.5. The exclusive results of the election in each polling local in CartoDB

The LNData team with Manuel Aristarán, Mozilla OpenNews fellow 2013, developed an interactive map that allowed visualization of the results of the 2013 parliamentary election in the different voting centers of CABA and Buenos Aires province. Also there was access to the details of the telegrams from all tables for more information.

The map combined the geo-localization of voting centers with the number of votes and the distribution of those votes by party in each center. The size of the bubble on the map represented the difference between the winner and the runner-up.

The team did a pilot test for the primaries (known here as PASO) and repeated the experience in the October 27 election.

VIDEO and Slideshare: Step by step DATA collection from raw data to a LIVE ELECTIONS DATA COVERAGE that calculates in real time the amount of legislators as votes were counted and lets journalist cross data of results from special unstructured interest groups or zones (explained in English)