I’m a data journalist at Spiegel Online since 2015. We’re a rather small team of generalists which means I usually get to work on every piece of a project from start to end. While this is a constant challenge of my skills (and I can image this might change if we’ll be growing one day) this approach minimizes friction throughout the project. You’re simply more familiar with the data when you’ve scraped, analyzed and visualized it yourself. During the past year, these were the most important projects I was involved in:
1. Football fan atlas
Knowledge about friendships and rivalries in German football is very anecdotal. We’ve been able to collect 60,000 survey responses and get an unprecedently deep look into the field. The resulting story is rich in visualizations and the collected data has been released to multiple scientists afterwards.
2. Black box Schufa
Schufa is the most influential credit bureau in Germany. We investigated its scoring algorithm using 2,000+ credit reports requested by customers during a crowdsourcing project. We found out that many people are declared a risk case with no fault of their own.
3. World Cup Squads
For the 2018 WC, I’ve analyzed the squads of all participating team and calculated new parameters like “top-level experience per player” that are highly meaningful. The aggregated statistics were reported in a one-time analysis and were at the same time the foundation for a widget we used 100+ times throughout the world cup. Showing basic stats as well as a continually updated evaluation of the teams’ chances.
4. Shot Maps
Shot maps visualize every shot attempt during a football match and thus help understanding the game. The underlying data for the visualization is piped in from a live feed and the widgets can be built and integrated into our CMS with just a few clicks. They are used hundreds of times a year, often within minutes after the final whistle.
5. Explanatory election maps
As a national news site, we regularly report on state elections. In order to convey to most important information at a glance we’ve generated a new approach: a dense static visualization that focuses on the most important information and can be generated in a reproducible way with little effort.
6. The spatial distribution of ATMs
Cash payments are still very popular in Germany, but the number of ATMs is declining steadily. For this article I’ve scraped and analyzed the location of all ATMS throughout the country. It turned out that some operators report misleading figures about the number of locations and that credit unions play a critical role in rural supply.
7. How a speed limit could save lives
The potential effects of a speed limit in Germany are a research gap. With a spatial analysis based on fine-granular open data I’ve been able to conduce a model calculation, showing that up to 140 deaths per year could be avoided if Germany introduced a speed limit on the Autobahn.
8. How Bayern Munich dominates the Bundesliga
Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga six years in a row. Directly after their victory in the title race, I’ve published a visual explainer of their dominance and of other teams in Europe that dominate their domestic league.
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Source and methodology