Municipal elections in Brazil offer newspaper chance to explore data journalism

On Monday, Aug. 20, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo announced the launch of the website FolhaSPDados, an online resource for the up-coming mayoral elections in the city of São Paulo. The website will feature interactive maps and infographics to illustrate and accompany the newspaper's coverage of the election's main themes.

Besides reporting information publicly available from government offices, independent research institutions and universities, the project aims to contextualize the data with visualizations and news about health, housing, mobility, and security, among others, according to the website Jornalistas da Web.

Leading the effort is journalist Gustavo Faleiros, a Knight International Journalism fellow who also oversaw the interactive map project InfoAmazonia. "The idea is to contextualize or guide reports with the data. We're going to maximize tools like Google Fusion TablesTilemill, and Gecommons, and attempt to bring them into the newsroom. The goal is to unite different areas like art, technology and journalism," Faleiros explained in an interview to the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

At its debut, the website already had an interactive map demonstrating the inequality in the distribution of green areas across the the city. Web surfers can alter the map by filtering the information by district names.

The São Paulo newspaper is following in the foot steps of Brazil's data journalism innovators, like the newspaper Estado de São Paulo. "Folha wants to innovate and is open to exploring data journalism. These projects have received enormous support," said Faleiros.

Another sign of the newspaper's dedication to data journalism is that Folha's offices host the São Paulo chapter of Hacks/Hackers, a group that brings together journalists, programmers, and other professionals interested in building new applications to collect and visualize data. Click here for information about the group's up-coming activities and discussions.

FolhaSPDados is the result of a partnership between the newspaper and the International Center for Journalists' Knight International Journalism Fellowship.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.