Project description

In November 2018 Átlátszó.hu, the first independent Hungarian investigative journalism center, launched a special team called ATLO to strengthen its graphic and visual journalism activities. Data journalism has always been important for Átlátszó, but we felt that it was time for focusing more on visual content. ATLO’s main role is to support Átlátszó’s investigative and data journalism activities with data, data-based information graphics and visualizations. Apart from this, ATLO’s aim is to produce visually compelling content related to science, statistics, digital humanities and more. ATLO is the first team in Hungary dedicated only to visual journalism.

The team was set up by three full time professionals and few contributors. The head of the team is Attila Bátorfy, who has been working at Átlátszó for three years as data journalist. Attila is one of the most recognized data journalist and visualization expert in Hungary, who also teaches data visualization at two universities. He is regular speaker at meetups and conferences, and researches the history of Hungarian information graphics. ATLO’s graphic designer is Bence Mikola, an award winning veteran in information graphics previously working for the two largest daily newspapers, Népszabadság and Magyar Nemzet. The third member of the core team is László Horváth, a self-made programmer and coder, who is responsible for data-scraping, site-building, interactions and animations. Other members of the team: Katalin Erdélyi (investigative journalist), Blanka Kovács and Márk Tremmel. ATLO also works with many contributors, including data scientists, language experts, urbanists and visual artists.

ATLO is a logic continuity of Átlátszó’s previous data-based activities, that’s why we submit two pieces from Átlátszó’s portfolio. The data-based investigation of Átlátszó on how the government elite, including PM Viktor Orbán use private jets and luxury yachts, was awarded with the most prestigious Hungarian journalism prize, the Soma Prize for the best investigation in 2018.

What makes this project innovative?

ATLO is special in Hungary because it is the first and only Hungarian full time team dedicated only for data journalism, information graphics and visualization. Regarding the international field, we are still learning and according to our one year plan we know that we are beginners, we also know our capacity and where are our limits with this small team. Why we apply then? Because we think that we need to be at least present and the jury might be interested in what's happening in Hungary, because we think that, and K-Monitor NGO also produces good data journalism.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

We think that the impact of our work can be measured better based on references and quotes by the largest news sites in Hungary (, 444,, Blikk), shares by niche communities (archaeologists, urbanists, historians, sociologists, designers), special groups (for example: Roman-Catholic Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest - the head of the Hungarian Catholic Church), and praises, news, reports by international networks and blogs (Online Journalism Blog by Paul Bradshaw, Global Investigative Journalism Network), radio interviews, etc. We also could exhibit our three works at Data Stories 2019 organized by Central European University's Center of Network Science. And for a starter group it's crucial that we could get business out of our activities, currently we are working on three commissions by clients from abroad, two based in Austria, one in Switzerland.

Source and methodology

We get the data via scarping/crawling, public information requests, legal processes against state institutions, or leaks. Many times we collect the data manually, or we buy them from legal sources, reserach companies or other types of data providers. Unfortunately even the Central Bureau of Statistics is quite closed to provide in-depth data apart from their regular public activities, state institutions practically don't cooperate with not pro-government news outlets. Private companies are sceptical even when we show some data projects from their multinational parent companies. We use to analyse the important patterns and outliers in the data by using basic softwares like Excel, Tableau, MySQL and calculating basic statistics knowing their limits and also highlighting them in the articles. We are quite sceptical with the lekaed or the obtained data from state institutions. We would like to add that we always disclose our methodology and our dataset for public use (except when we work with sensible data) to be transparent and accountable.

Technologies Used

Programmed scrapers, Excel, MySQL, Tableau, Flourish, Mapbox, Qgis, Google Earth, WebGL, Illustrator.

Project members

Attila Bátorfy, Bence Mikola, László Horváth, Katalin Erdélyi, Blanka Kovács, Márk Tremmel



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