Data Journalism, No Excuses

LA NACION DATA website is not just a website, it´s a strategy, a project and a team. The strategy has to do with the commitment of using data to tell stories and expand the use of data, preferably open data, to activate demand of public information, in a country that just passed a FOIA law but is still not implemented.

This year we crossed borders inside the newsroom adding platforms to our classic digital and print ones that are: appearing once a week as “LN Data special section” in the new LA NACION + TV channel, appearing in the famous print saturday´s infographic section “At first sight” and sharing every news app we build using our new “data GIFs” in La Nación’s social channels.

The internal strategy is to work in teams with journalists, tv producers and infographers so we just facilitate the data and help in the investigation or analysis, but they are the ones who domain the topic and know how to tell the stories.

Besides LA NACION Data web site serves others opening and updating data series to reuse, and builds calculators and simulators based in public information and algorithms that are difficult to access or understand in raw for our readers. To monitor some topics using data we update our large datasets we call “long term projects” for which we´have developed scrapers, transformation functions and visualizations.

We measure impact if we find untold stories or evidence that produces change, but we also measure impact if we serve others using data as a service to inform, calculate or monitor a public service in a granular way.

Some Examples or our work based on quality of content, frequency and variety of subjects covered:

1. OPEN COLLABORATION to unveil stories from a + 40.000 phone interceptions database related to a terrorist attack that lead to a national prosecutor found dead


2. S.O.S Riachuelo: a never ending story of pollution in the river with 8 million people affected.

3. The nationalization of gasoline in Argentina, reported from 3.8 million rows of data,

4. Four figures to understand who is affected by Trump’s immigration ban

5. Monintoring the ENERGY CRISIS.


6. We played with soccer and rugby data to compare Messi type of goals against 3 other argentinean players, The Americas Cup and most common rugby injuries

7. VISUALISATION: The speeches of Macri: Visualizing and Fact-checking.


a) Calculator for electricity price and b) Credit Simulator

9. EVENT: We hosted the 4th edition of DATAFEST for opening, mining and visualising public interest data.

10. LONG TERM PROJECTS – BUILD ONCE, USE, OPEN, UPDATE, REUSE: We keep on feeding our plaforms Congresoscope, Open Declarations of Assets, Open Data Catalog, Subsidies of Bus Transportation and Daily Open Data Series.


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The death of a prosecutor, 40,000 audio hearings, 2 years and a team.


I. Intro

II. The story (includes major terrorist attack, jewish community, Iranian Government, a President accused and a prosecutor found dead)

III. The collaborative investigation

IV. Analysis

V. Major Findings

VI. The app

VII. Technology

VIII. Impact

IX. Open data

X. Conclusion


I. Intro

How and why we built a database of 40.000 phone interceptions with a closed network of 120 collaborators, to publish a news app of 200 selected audios . 

And there is more to come, and more to support  this effort to hear and classify the 100% of the audios, as the judicial trial has just reopened in December 2016.


II. The story:

Argentina, July 1994, a massive bomb explodes in front of the AMIA, a jewish center in Buenos Aires. The attack kills 85 people and injures 300.

After a long process of investigation, in 2006, a judge orders an international arrest warrant for the accused, most of them members of the iranian government. Immediately, INTERPOL issues red notices to assist the national police forces.  Seguir leyendo

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Open Data Journalism for Change

Since 2011 when LA NACION Data was launched as an open data journalism initiative, its strategy has been the same: to do data journalism AND to open data. The vision we have is that each set of data that is published means that more knowledge is released.

The first step to make datasets famous is to become open data USERS, helping not only journalism but other citizens to do the same.

And if there is no open data, no problem, as we need to become PRODUCERS of the transformed from closed formats to open data. We have to find and convert public information, so we file FOIA requests, we use more than 8 OCR Engines combined with processes that automatize the feed from that close PDF to a dataset passing adding rows in a database per month or daily, and we even type that and open data in special productions repeating our data civic marathons.  Seguir leyendo

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During 2016 and 2017 we started to promote our reporting with Gifs in social media.

We experimented with different formats depending on the  projects.

Some shows a general overview of the visualization, others want to highlight a fact obtained after the analysis.

Please find a selection of them below:


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S.O.S Riachuelo – a never ending story of pollution in the river with 8 million people affected

>> Please, first take a look at the the special published in spanish. << 

The explanation and Behind the scenes. 

In the Spanish colonial era, sheep and mule meat salting factories were built along the Riachuelo river´s banks, along with tanneries that processed cow leather. Dumping waste into the river became a common practice that turned it into a veritable open sewer, which continued with more modern industries like petrochemical plants and the meat-packing industry.

In the last few decades, there were many official promises and a budget assigned to clean up the Riachuelo. The best remembered by argentines was made by María Julia Alsogaray, environment minister under then president Carlos Menem (1989-1999), who announced that they would do it in just 1,000 days. An enthusiastic Menem said that when they were finished, he would swim in the Riachuelo. In the end, the river remained a health threat, Menem decided not to swim, and Alsogaray ended up in prison for corruption.  Seguir leyendo

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Letters to the Presidents

 How this project began

At La Nación Data we are always aware of those areas of government which produce public interest information and, however, are not well known.

If we look at the flow chart of the Government Administration, we found that there was an area named Dirección de Documentación Presidencial (Presidential Document Department). We searched for its creation regulation to see the responsibilities and we found that said department was in charge of receiving all the letters, mails and oral requests addressed to the President of the Nation.

Said department has not any website to show statistics or any information regarding their functions. That is why, we prepared a request for access to public information to access the material concerned: the letters to the President.

Request for access to information

This request took the teamwork of LA NACIÓN Data almost one week, since letters include personal data and we had to be careful enough to avoid the release of such type of information and focus, instead, on the content of the document sent to said department.  Seguir leyendo

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Four figures to understand who is affected by Trump’s immigration ban


>> Please, first take a look to the published project (in spanish). Thank you! <<

After the immigration ban of Donald Trump, LA NACIÓN Data searched for data evidencing if the measure taken by the new President was supported or not by the information produced on said country as regards the flow of refugees admitted in the United States from 2001 to 2016, the religion of the refugees admitted in said country from 2002 as regards the religion of the country and the number of the persons who committed terrorist attacks in the United States.  Seguir leyendo

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The speeches of Macri: Visualizing and Fact-checking.

>>  Take a look  to the published project “Behind the speech of Macri: checking and findings” . Experiment the look and feel.


The explanation and behind the scenes

This visualization was the result of great teamwork. La Nación and Chequeado (factcheking NGO) joined efforts to publish a journalistic high impact graphic piece to analyze the speech of President Mauricio Macri on the opening day of regular congressional sessions. After an exhaustive planning and coordination, 60 persons took part in different stages of the project.

Detail of the digital application.

The application consists of 3 tabs containing different analytical approaches: Seguir leyendo

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Open Data Journalism for Change

Since 2011 when LA NACION Data was launched as an open data journalism initiative, its strategy has been the same: to do data journalism AND to open data. The vision we have is that each set of data that is published means that more knowledge is released.

Anyone can think that opening data is none of our business, but in Argentina, a country without FOI law nor significant open data initiatives we wanted to do data journalism and to do so we had to build our datasets from scratch and share them, to demonstrate that it can be done anywhere, by anyone and each dataset we build and open adds value not only today and not only for us. So build datasets and open them, why? Seguir leyendo

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Argentina´s prison system´s overview with data

Publication Date: January, 25 th, 2016

In order to depict reality in Argentine prisons, we used in this project our “scrollytelling” format by means of videos, images and interactive graphics to make the most of a multimedia platform for a data heavy investigation: “Argentina´s prison system´s overview with data”

Given the fact that security is an everyday concern of citizens, we wanted to show how penitentiary system vices prevent the resocialization of persons who commit crimes.

Tableau: Evolution of population in Prisons

Overpopulation, undernourishment and repeated human rights violations are some of the aspects that we could tell, based on investigative journalism work which took a lot of time and effort for information gathering and analysis.  Seguir leyendo
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