How to Turn Data into Stories

we explore



Brief: In its goal of establishing the standard in the field of data-driven journalism in Switzerland, Neue Zürcher Zeitung collaborated with Interactive Things in the making of a workshop to share their working experience in the field of data-driven storytelling in highly cross-disciplinary team. The creation of a good story holds in three main components. First the definition of relevant elements from the information

and data, what do you want to show. Second, set the goal of the publication, why do you want to show this information. Third, how to engage the reader with this story through the use of suitable and appealing way of communication. To fully understand this new working process, the participants were proposed to design a poster from a new chosen from a list proposed by the organizers.

IXT Workshop at the Open Knowledge Conference
Sep 16th 2013
3 hours
Case 1

Egypt: Casualties of Politics


Since the overthtrow of Hosni Moubarak in 2011, Egypt knows regular murderous events opposing the army to dissident groups. For example, on September 11th, six Egyptian army officers were killed in two car bomb explosions near military units in the Sinai Peninsula, in response to the crackdown enforce on Egypt's islamists.


The number of casualties is linked to the political event: government decisions usually triggers hostile reaction of its opponents. The idea in this poster is to show this cause and effect system existing in Egypt. Through the use of map, time and political event in Egypt, the user can explore this issue through the use of various filters.

Case 2

World Cup 2022: Energy Consumption


In December 2010, Qatars was awarded the World Cup 2022. At this time FIFA officials didn't think about several issues which will probably be caused by the extremely high temperature, around 50, usually happening in this region during summer. Realizing this recently, Sepp Blatter wish to reschedule the event to the winter period, but a strong coalition of soccer leagues and clubs is opposing him.


One of the issue spotted by Sepp Blatter is the risk for the health of the players and fan due to high temperature and crowding. This would ensue another issue, which can have a far more global impact: the high amount of energy consumption. In this poster, we can compare the plausible energy consumption of different countries at the same period of time using different measure as the energy needed for air conditioning, light…

Case 3

NY Stripers undo years of wage oppression


Social inequalities exists at numerous level in our society, and they differ from one country to another. After four years of juridical procedure, the strip dancers of the famous strip club Rick's Cabaret won their fight asking to get minimum wage, overtime and other jobs protection.


Through the use of different media, the poster informs us of social inequality concerning salaries and employment protection all over the world. It also focus on the strip dancers themselves, comparing them to other professions having fight for the same right in the past, but also comparing them to other employment situations inside the same business.

Case 4

Who is eating the Kirkuk oilcake?


After two different wars, Iran and Irak have a relationship where animosity prevails and some areas near the border of those countries are still disputed. Any kind of operation in those areas has to be accepted by both countries. Though, on the 11th of September, Iraq signed a contract with BP allowing the firm to extract oil in the northern Kirkurk oilfield.


In the light of those facts, the team raised the question of how BP is fueling the political conflict between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi government. Through a serie of visualization, showing historical events, maps business and economic data, the team proposed an intelligible way of grasping the big picture of this complex issue.

Case 5

The human chains around the world


The Catalan nationalism is a movement taking root at the beginning of the XXth century. The claim of this movement is to make Catalonia an independent nation, therefore totally separated from the Spain. The economic crisis and political scandal and reforms of those last years have intensified the claim and demand for a referendum concerning this issue. To have this call heard, the Catalans are planning to do a 400km human chain across the region.


The human chain method has already been used in the past in some countries claiming their independence, we may think of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but also in other context, protesting against war, political decisions or in charitable way. To show the variety of the use of this manifestation method, the poster offers a map combined to a timeline to see where, when and why people have united together at some period of time as human chains.


You can find all workshop relevant documents and files on this website. If there is something you miss, please don't hesitate to contact us.