2018 Breaking News, Large Newsroom finalist

The Search Operation of the Submarine ARA San Juan

About the Project

This was not a planned news event for which we prepared months/weeks in advance to serve our audience with quick analysis and rich visualizations after an expected major data dump (e.g. elections, olympics, soccer World Cup) or when a periodic nature disaster happens (e.g. California wildfires, Caribbean huracains).

In Argentina, the disappearance of a submarine in time of peace and the occurrence of an hydroacoustic anomaly are unexpected events by definition.

How do we count 36 hs. after a breaking news event happened? Which event is the breaking news?

Different situations happened since the disappearance.

November 17th, the Navy informed they have lost contact with submarine ARA SAN JUAN and would start a rescue operation.

There was no panic in population or press. Optimistic hypothesis included communications system problems and people commented on how many days tripulants could stay alive with oxygen and food reserve, etc.

BREAKING NEWS EVENT >> November 22nd – 7 pm <<

The first official indication was unveiled: a “hydroacoustic anomaly”, recorded hours after losing contact with the ship, almost 60 km from the place where the last communication took place on Wednesday the 15th at 7.30 am. The Navy began to map a specific search area and ordered the transfer of vessels and aircraft to that area.

And that is the day were we start counting the breaking news data.

Optimistic hypothesis quickly vanished and the tragedy alternative gained room.

That day, the entire fleet of the Argentine Navy and the international ships organized under the same operation.

And Argentine population turned avidly to multiplatforms screens looking for every new bite of information.

LA NACION DATA started following the route of vessels near Argentine coastline.

What happened?

When the Navy announced the hydroacoustic anomaly, we were ready to inform about the first boats that approached the new search area.

From 7 pm until midnight we were able to show the raking that each ship made, within the search polygon marked by the Navy.

The result:

Within  less than 5 hours from breaking news, we provided unique video with the route of the boats to embed online that informed about the search and an infographic map we published on November 23rd morning print edition and reposted in online website within 9 hours from breaking news

LA NACION DATA had the exact location of each search vessel in real time.

The search for the submarine was in a terrain far and unknown to all: the sea. That’s why we needed precise data about the location of the boats and the route each one made to rake as much as possible.

And put that information on the screen of each user.