Project description

I am a data journalist from Barcelona aged 25 years old. During 2017-18, I studied the MA Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. Just after graduating, in September, I started working at Fundació Periodisme Plural, a media group based in Barcelona. There, contribute to different specialised digital publications covering education, health, housing, inequalities… I also collaborated with Anuari dels Silencis Mediàtics, a print yearbook of investigative reports edited by

1) “Many cities in one: portrait of inequality in Barcelona”
Putting together the median income, unemployment, percentage of people without studies and of non-European immigrants for each of the 73 neighbourhoods, I created four indexes and visualised them in a flower figure, inspired by the most famous Barcelona’s paving stone.

2) “Two out of three public schools in Barcelona have more than twice as many immigrants as the semi-private one that is closest to it”
After a long transparency request, we got the number of immigrant students in each school in Catalonia (first time released to the press). With it, I investigated school segregation in Barcelona.

3) “Airbnb recovered in three months the supply numbers it had before the closure of 2,500 illegal flats in Barcelona”
I used data scrapped by Inside Airbnb to factcheck the figures released by the company and by Barcelona’s City Hall about illegal touristic flats being closed. Developing an analysis I started in a hackathon, I could discover that, although some flats were eliminated from Airbnb’s offer, new ones were appearing, exceeding the legal licenses.

4) “30% of Catalan doctors will retire in the next 10 years: the replacement will be women, young and specialist”
Scraping and analysing the official data of doctors in Catalonia by age group and gender, I was able to show future trends in this profession and visualise them with GIFs with an inhouse design.

5) By their tweets you will know them: who have Sánchez and Rajoy congratulated during their mandates?
After scraping every tweet of the last two Spanish presidents containing the word “congratulations” and synonyms, I categorised them by the gender and the topic of whom they were congratulating. Project started when still studying and finished at my current job.

6) “Rent prices increase in Barcelona, Palma and València”
With data scraped from a state agency hidden API, I compared rent increase in neighbourhoods from 3 Catalan speaking cities after the housing crisis. Contribution to the print magazine Anuari dels Silèncis Mediàtics.

7) “Tackling online disability hate”
Online disability hate crimes reported to police tripled in three years, as revealed by FOI requests answers of 26 English police forces. This investigation, developed as part of my MA studies, includes testimonies, the role of the government and social media companies, a data visualization and an interactive game.

What makes this project innovative?

I am the only data journalist in the small newsroom of Fundació Periodisme Plural, so I am in charge of getting the data, analysing and visualising it for every story I pitch or I am encouraged to do. This situation is very challenging but also satisfying because I have been able to experiment with a variety of topics, approaches and methods. In terms of getting the data, although I try to use official data, it is not always in an easy workable format. So, I had to get creative to write non rejectable FOI requests and lines of code to scrape data on multiple websites. About the data analysis, one of the original approaches was to find segregation by comparing schools in a short distance (using geographical data), instead of comparing all the schools in the same region, as it is usually done. Also, the calculation of new and old flats on offer on Airbnb was an innovative way to verify data released by official sources. When possible, either because it is not sensible data or we have finished working with it, I publish the code analysis on the organisation’s Github page (see last link). When it comes to visualisation, I go from simple and quick visualisations when we want the user to get the information on a first sight (created mainly with Flourish and Carto) to more interactive and creative ones with which we expect the user to play and discover the results by themselves (like the one about inequalities in Barcelona, designed with D3.js). Finally, we also like to make our data stories attractive on social media, so I take care of the design and make GIFs of the visualisation, when possible. I created a ggplot2 theme in R to make our graphics in the publication ‘El Diari de l’Educació’ more identifiable and adapted the theme to ‘El Diari de la Sanitat’ design to create GIFs for the doctors’ story (See additional link 6: explanation of the process in Rpubs).

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

We are a small media group, so our stories usually have a specialised and local audience. Usually, the topics engage the communities they affect. As an example, the story about school segregation in Barcelona was widely commented on social media by the education community – specially by activists and academics who had been following our various data analysis about the schooling system in Catalonia – and quoted by other Catalan media; the story about the future of doctors was shared by the health sector and their chartered institutes; and the story about Airbnb’s supply made many neighbourhood associations ask in Twitter more action from the City Hall. Also, some of the most creative stories, like the one about inequalities in Barcelona or the one about the presidents’ tweets, were praised by data visualisers and data journalists for its originality. An example of that is that the first one was featured in the top 10 round-up of data journalism projects by the Global Investigative Journalism Network, an extraordinary situation for such a small news outlet.

Source and methodology

I use data from official sources, when possible. From Barcelona’s city hall using their open data portal, from the Spanish Statistic Institute (INE) scraping datasets from their website, or from Catalan and English institutions requesting data via FOI. Come of the methodology I use has been explained in previous sections.

Technologies Used

R and Workbench for scrapping. Mainly R and sometimes QGIS and Google Spreadsheets for analysis. D3.js, R’s ggplot2, Flourish, Tableau, Carto and Adobe Illustrator for visualisation.

Project members

I am the only data journalist in my newsroom. For 3 of 7 of the projects submitted, I worked together with other journalists on writing the text. They are mentioned in each on the links (Carla Benito, J. J. Caballero, Pau Rodríguez and Arturo Puente). For the rest, I was in charge of the whole piece.


Additional links


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