Data-driven Interactives Revolutionise News Reporting

Al Jazeera English uses a revolutionary digital technique for covering the conflict in Syria.

Last week, the news outlet published an interactive mapping Syria’s rebellion. This interactive is based on data collected from 900 opposition fighter groups in the country, gathered through dozens of phone calls to the groups on the ground, asking questions about the numbers of people involved in each group, where they are based and other details. The data was then handed over to the interactive producers, who turned it into a force diagram and an interactive to show the relationship between the opposition groups. Al Jazeera English had also used this type of data-driven investigation to create the Syria Defector Tracker, an interactive that maps out all the defections happening in Syria and won an Online Media Award for best technical innovation.

These data-driven interactives, which are usually created within ten days, are a good way of presenting a lot of data in a structured manner, in some cases being able to tell the story better than a text article.