Marco goes the extra mile. He already gave us some insight into his work as a data journalist at the South China Morning Post (SMCP) in our SquirrelTalk (which you can read here). In this piece, he explains how this impressive visual story about China’s role in the market for electric vehicles (EVs) was created.
This article is part of a series of visual stories in which we covered the Chinese government’s plan to develop the country in the coming years and establish China as a leadingcountry in key areas – like the EV-market. I assigned the topics to four of our colleagues and handled two topics myself. I had a rather tight deadline: Just one week to research and write the article, analyze the data, create the graphics, and create print versions.
Most of the available data on electric cars was about sales and economics: boring stuff. This data is important to explain to readers why the topic is important, but it’s not the material you use to create a visual story. That was a problem because the initial idea was about this part in particular.
My solution was to complement that part with something else. Usually, I create a document containing everything I can find on a topic, any specific angle, reference or interview. Then, I pick the good ones and develop the analysis based on them.
I split the topic into smaller sections:
- Why is it important (the boring part, mostly done in small charts)
- Why is it a problem (raw material providers)
- Why is difficult to achieve (findings watching a map)
- How it works (again small charts and diagrams)
Our readers’ reaction to the story was really good: The graphic surpassed the our usual number of clicks very quickly, even becoming one of the most-read stories of the series. The print edition also ran well, I assume: People in China got a copy and enjoyed it. I am not sure about the numbers, though, because the SCMP is banned in Mainland China.
You can find the full project 👉 here.