2020 The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism, Small/Medium Newsroom finalist

The Corona Live Tracker


About the Project

Amidst growing concern, uncertainty and lack of information VG created its most popular service ever. Based on structured data and visual presentation we managed to make a nerdy stats page the most popular news product in Norway.

During March most of Norway’s population became data driven media consumers, and due to its dynamic education solution an overwhelming majority chose to make VG’s “corona live tracker” as its regular starting point.

By tracing every corona-infected Norwegian from early on, VG were able to build the record making service based on data from 350+ municipalities long before the public health authorities or any other media outlets. Adding statistics from the rest of the world made this live update page a comprehensive must-have-tool for both the public and the Norwegian government.

The credible, exact and visual coverage was made possible due to an agile and dedicated cooperation between news reporters and our Editorial Development team.

Starting off as a simple spreadsheet-backed page the service instantly proved popular on its launch on the 4th of March, eight days before Norway recorded its first covid-19 fatality. In the matter of days the live service reached one million daily visits, and during The 12th of March – the day Norway experienced it’s national lockdown – we registered an all time high of 4,6 million visits. This in a country with 5.3 million inhabitants. That day was the first of 67 in a row with at least 1 million views per day. During this time and into the summer the service was continuously developed with more detailed and contextual information. The VG corona tracker was included by The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in their selection of great data journalism on the pandemic. We have also provided data for the Big Data Institute at Oxford University and the tracker has been used as reference both by the Norweigan authorities and other media.

We added:

  • Sections for each municipality with daily updated numbers and time series on local cases, deaths and hospitalization data for nearby hospitals. We have also added sections for each county.
    – Maps and tables showing new cases the last 7 av 14 days, to better illustrate active cases and outbreaks.
  •  An overview of the worst days for each municipality – the day with the highest number of new cases or deaths, to illustrate who is in the middle of an outbreak. The same overview is given for each country internationally.
  • Graphic presentation of the doubling time for the date rate in all nations.
  • A Nordic section comparing numbers from the Nordic countries with the different measures and its effect on the spread of the virus.
  • Visualizations of accessible statistics like demographics on the hospitalized, critically ill, dead and infected.

Watch the English video-explainer.