To report the results of the presidential elections in Costa Rica on the 4th of February, we wanted to give our readers two specific products: a web application where they could find information about the 57 candidates elected for Congress; and an in-depth data analysis about the election results.
On the night of the 4th of February, once the electoral results started to arrive, we launched a web application with the candidates that had been elected for Congress, and it changed in real time, according to the results. The readers could see the candidates elected by party and for each province, and could click on each of them to see information about their stance on three topics of national interest: the fiscal reform, public wages and same sex marriage.
In addition, the day after, we published an analysis of the presidential results, that explained how a religious minority party had won the first round and had conquered territories previously dominated by Liberación Nacional (the most traditional party in the country). Using maps, data visualization and reporting, we were able to give our readers a unique in-depth analysis, that explained a surprising result in Costa Rica’s political history.
What makes this project innovative?
For the web application, we had previously interviewed the candidates to collect information about their profile and political views. We had all the information in a database which was connected to the live results, and on election night, as the candidates were elected, they appeared on the website.
The result was surprising: an evangelical party that had only elected a deputy in 2014, elected 14 candidates in this election. They were completely unknown for the public, hence the importance of showing who they were in real time to our audience. Even though other media were reporting on the new Congress, we were the only ones who had interactive information about the new candidates.
Moreover, we wanted to be able to give an explanation the quickest way possible of the presidential electoral results. Two days before election night, we automated a results’ analysis and data visualizations using RStudio, in order to compare the 2014 and 2018 presidential results by district. Once we had the 2018 results, we ran the analysis and were able to answer the question of how a religious party (Restauración Nacional) had won the first round. We showed how the electoral map had shifted in four years, which party won in each district, the variation in the vote by party and explained the worst electoral performance of Liberación Nacional Party in their 65 years of participating in the elections.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
The story about the results had 16,854 views and an average time on site of 05:43, which is an excellent metric for us, since it showed the people read the whole story.
These two products were part of a bigger project about electoral coverage that started in January. They were the most successful pieces, which showed the importance of giving our audience valuable information the fastest way possible.