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ZEIT ONLINE receives Information is Beautiful Award


After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Germans eliminated most traces of their country’s division in record time. But ZEIT ONLINE’s project “A Nation Divided” shows that the differences between east and west can still be seen today in certain sets of data. On Wednesday night in London, the interactive data visualization project was awarded the prestigious Information Is Beautiful Award gold medal in the category of data journalism.

In his speech awarding the prize, journalist and designer David McCandless praised the project’s use of the “scrollytelling” format. He added that “individual aspects of the data-driven story were told sequentially and in an exemplary way.”

At the heart of the visualized story are maps of Germany that illustrate contrasts between the eastern and western halves of the country. The graphics show that while the former East German state may be history, its contours are still recognizable today. To name just a few examples: Most men with the first name Ronny live in the east. Very few people own mobile homes in the east. And most of the laundry dryers owned in Germany are in western homes, with few sold in the east. Household incomes also remain significantly lower in the east.

Paul Blickle of ZEIT ONLINE’s Interactive Team explains how they came up with the data visualization in this video.

Project editorial team:
Data visualization and  graphics: Lisa Borgenheimer, Paul Blickle, Julian Stahnke, Sascha Venohr
Text: Christian Bangel
Video, editorial coordination: Fabian Mohr