Accessibility Settings

color options

monochrome muted color dark

reading tools

isolation ruler
Financial Times Ukraine sea-based drone attacks
Financial Times Ukraine sea-based drone attacks

Thanks to an armada of unmanned surface sea drones, Ukraine has amassed a number of surprising naval victories against Russia in the Black Sea. Image: Screenshot, Financial Times



Mapping US War Protests, Ukraine’s Shocking Naval Victories, Tracking Demolitions in Gaza, and Rwanda 30 Years After Genocide

In seven months of war between Israel and Hamas, around half of Gaza’s buildings have been destroyed or damaged, according to the Decentralized Damage Mapping Group, which Bellingcat referenced in a visual investigation that used open source imagery to trace a path of building demolitions conducted by an IDF unit. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal examined the growth of protests related to the conflict on US university campuses. In this edition of our Top 10 in Data Journalism, which considered stories between April 22 and May 5, we also highlight an investigation of the drivers of deforestation of the Bolivian Amazon; a visual piece on Ukraine’s naval victories over Russia in the Black Sea; a reflection on Rwanda 30 years after the genocide; and a look at Madonna’s popularity in Brazil, ahead of the largest show of her career in Rio de Janeiro.

Mapping War Protests in the US

WSJ - pro-Palestinian protests

Image: Screenshot, The Wall Street Journal

During the seven months of violent conflict between Israel and Hamas, there have been more than 8,000 protests expressing support for Gaza and Palestine in the United States, according to the Crowd Counting Consortium (CCC), a joint project of Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Connecticut. In recent weeks, however, protests have intensified at US universities, with student encampments spreading across the country and police arresting hundreds of protesters after being called in by university administrators. Using CCC data, The Wall Street Journal mapped and visualized pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protests — the latter taking place mainly during the first two months of the conflict — and compared them to the pace of protests following the police killing of George Floyd. Also, check out this live tracker from The New York Times that shows where protesters on campuses across the US have been arrested or detained.

Destruction of Gaza’s Civilian Infrastructure

Bellingcat IDF demolitions in Gaza

Image: Screenshot, Bellingcat

This in-depth visual investigation from Bellingcat and Scripps News analyzed the widespread destruction of property in the Gaza Strip in the last seven months. According to the report’s estimates, more than 50% of the buildings in the Palestinian territory have been destroyed or damaged. Using open source satellite imagery, the team followed the movements of a single Israel Defence Force battalion as it moved through Gaza, geolocating online posts — openly shared by the unit’s soldiers on social media — and recording the subsequent demolition of building complexes, houses, and mosques.

Deforestation in the Bolivian Amazon 

Data journalism, InsightCrime Bolivia deforestation

Image: Screenshot, InsightCrime

Despite having the second highest deforestation rate among Amazon countries — losing almost 500,000 hectares of primary forest in 2023 alone — Bolivia has received little international attention related to this issue, according to InSight Crime. To identify the key drivers and actors behind the deforestation of the Bolivian Amazon rainforest, the nonprofit organization conducted an investigation, in partnership with the Brazilian think tank Instituto Igarapé, that uncovered the chain of environmental crimes that have driven the loss of biodiversity in the region, which occupies 60 million hectares. The seven-chapter series shows how uncontrolled forest fires, the expansion of the agricultural frontier, gold mining, rampant logging, wildlife plundering, and drug trafficking are fueling the destruction of the country’s national parks and protected areas.

Potential Vectors of Bird Flu to Humans

Reuters Bird Flu explainer

Image: Screenshot, Reuters

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been mounting concern about the possibility of animal viruses becoming transmissible to humans. Among them is the H5N1 virus, also known as bird flu — which recently caused alarm after an outbreak among cattle in the United States led to the first known case of transmission between a cow and a human. Previously, the virus, which causes serious, sometimes fatal infections, had been transmitted to humans mainly through contact with infected wild birds or poultry. In this visual story, Reuters explained how humans may or may not acquire the virus and showed, through maps and diagrams, the possible transmission routes of H5N1 from wild birds to humans.

Ukraine’s Unexpected Naval Victories Against Russia

Financial Times Black sea trade maritime traffic

Image: Screenshot, Financial Times

It seems an unlikely feat for a country that doesn’t possess a “real navy,” but the Financial Times showed how, in a visual story, Ukraine has been able to disable or destroy a third of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the last two years. According to the report, Ukraine has successfully deployed maritime attacks with drones and missiles and, as a result, has resumed grain exports from Odesa and other seaports to pre-war levels, providing a “vital income” for the country. The Financial Times team used satellite imagery and data from BlackSky, a real-time spatial intelligence company, and Spire Global, a cloud space data and analytics company.

Perfect Storm of Cicadas Not Seen in 221 Years

CNN cicada emergence

Image: Screenshot, CNN

CNN created a visual guide to explain a rare event: during spring this year, two different broods of cicadas will emerge simultaneously in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States. The last time these two cycles synced up was in 1803. Of the more than 3,000 species of cicadas found around the world, only nine are periodic — with relatively long life cycles. Of these, seven are found only in the US. This spring’s phenomenon involves two groups: one that spends 17 years underground before emerging and another that comes out every 13 years. By mid-June, up to a trillion cicadas could surface to shed their skin, mate, lay eggs, raise the next generation of cicadas, and die. The next time the two broods appear together will be the year 2245.

Green Funds in Name Only 

Follow the Money, green funds in name only

More than half of the 216 funds analyzed appear to invest in fossil companies for a total of almost 1.6 billion euros (US$1.71 billion). Image: Screenshot, Follow the Money

More than half of investment funds in the Netherlands that call themselves sustainable, green, or climate neutral also invest in fossil fuel companies. That’s the conclusion of an international investigation led by Follow the Money and Investico, which also dug into investment trends in countries like Spain and France. At the European level, this pattern reportedly affects 43% of funds, and is a violation of new rules enacted by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) that promise to more strictly regulate so-called green investment securities. For this special report, the team identified and analyzed 1277 funds, representing almost 300,000 investments, and used data from German NGO Urgewald.

Rwanda: 30 Years After the Genocide

Dataphyte Rwanda state fragility report

Image: Screenshot, Dataphyte

On April 7, 1994, a period of horror began in Rwanda: in just 100 days, nearly 800,000 people were killed in an ethnic genocide. The massacre, led by extremists from the Hutu ethnic group, was an attempt to exterminate the Tutsi minority — and it is estimated that approximately 70% of them were murdered. Now, 30 years after the genocide, the Nigerian media research and data analysis organization Dataphyte reflected on the lessons for Africa and analyzed Rwanda’s state fragility. According to the outlet, the score of this index, measured by the Fund for Peace, is the lowest (and the best) in the last 18 years. In a series of graphs made with data from the Fragile States Index, they look at key indicators, such as Rwanda’s national identity and extremist rhetoric, as well as economic, political, and social markers. They show how the country’s path to stability over the past three decades has been slow but steady, and that conflicts such as civil war are less likely to occur now. The second part of the report can be read here.

Celebrating 40 Years of Madonna’s Music

Folha celebrating four decades of Madonna's music

Major cities with the most Madonna song listeners on Spotify, from March 24 to April 23, 2024. Image: Screenshot, Folha

In Brazil, when we conclude something in a prosperous and positive way, we say that it was “closed with a golden key.” And that’s exactly what Madonna did concluding the tour celebrating her 40-year career with a free show on the sands of Copacabana Beach, in Rio de Janeiro, for more than 1.5 million people. According to Folha, the Latin American country is Madonna’s biggest audience on Instagram and the second only to the US when it comes to listening to the pop diva on YouTube. Curiously, Madonna’s success among Gen Z Brazilians, who were born after she was already well known, account for more than 43% of subscribers to the singer’s channel. For Folha, these metrics indicate that Madonna managed to maintain relevance among new generations, not only due to her flexibility in following different trends in fashion and music, but also for defending agendas that align with the values of today’s young people. The newspaper also predicted a possible setlist for the show (and got most of it right) and used Spotify data to evaluate the danceability, energy, and positivity of the performance’s almost 30 songs.

How Well Are You Sleeping?

Washington Post, US sleep time

Image: Screenshot, The Washington Post

People in the US haven’t slept this well in a long time. At least not in the last two decades, an analysis by The Washington Post concluded. According to the report, based on data from the American Time Use Survey, an individual in the US gained, on average, 10 minutes of sleep per day between 2019 and 2022. It might not seem like much, but experts believe it is a significant increase. The Post’s analysis suggested that this gain in rest time may be due to the increase in post-pandemic remote work, which eliminated travel time to the workplace: less time in traffic means more time in bed. But make no mistake: the quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity. According to Dr. Mathias Basner, a sleep researcher and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, if you don’t sleep continuously during each cycle, you won’t be “fully recovered.” Want to know if you’re sleeping well? In the report you will also find a tool that allows you to compare your amount of sleep with your peers.

Ana Beatriz Assam is GIJN’s Portuguese editor and a Brazilian journalist. She has worked as a freelance reporter for the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, mainly covering stories featuring data journalism. She also works for the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) as an assistant coordinator of journalism courses.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Republish this article

Material from GIJN’s website is generally available for republication under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license. Images usually are published under a different license, so we advise you to use alternatives or contact us regarding permission. Here are our full terms for republication. You must credit the author, link to the original story, and name GIJN as the first publisher. For any queries or to send us a courtesy republication note, write to

Read Next