User-centered
data visualization

Eye-Catching, Interactive and Insightful

Mirjam Leunissen is a data journalist and visualization specialist with a scientific brain and a passion for visual storytelling.

Activities

I design and develop data visualizations for the web. On all topics, from the very small and personal, to big societal issues. Starting with my own data and analysis, international open data or your proprietary research. And always selecting the form that best gets the point across, from stand-alone site to web animation or social media imagery. In addition, I share my knowledge and inspire others through training and public presentations.

Awards

2019

Shortlisted for the Data Journalism Awards, Investigation of the Year

2018

Google Digital News Initiative Award to develop service journalism

2016 & 2017

VOJN Award for best online data journalism

2015

Malofiej silver medal for interactive data visualization

2014 & 2016

Shortlisted for the Information is Beautiful Awards
Note: I no longer submit work to the Information is Beautiful Awards to protest the high submission fees, which I consider non-inclusive on a global scale
Technologies

First of all, I sketch, discuss, and refine my design concept and prototypes, using digital pen and paper or Adobe XD. I then bring my ideas to life with a wide variety of tools for data wrangling, storyboarding, visualization and interactive storytelling. Besides R, the Adobe Creative Cloud and HTML5/CSS3 these frequently include:

  • Mapbox
  • Uber Deck.gl
  • QGIS
  • D3.js
  • Observable
  • Scrollama
  • Gephi
Recent work

I experiment with many different formats to make topics more tangible and to let readers explore and experience certain issues for themselves. If you don’t speak Dutch, you can view my projects with Chrome page translate.

How healthy is your neighborhood?

Hoe gezond is jouw wijk?

National Health Institutes interviewed nearly half a million people in The Netherlands about their health, from chronic illness to smoking and depression. I developed an interactive map, which shows the regional patterns and lets the user zoom in on specific neighborhoods.

zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder

The YouTube stars of the reactionary right

De YouTube Sterren van reactionair rechts

A fellow data journalist identified thousands of YouTube channels with a far-right ideology. I created a visual tour through this universe, showing how the channels cluster around topics like nationalism and anti-feminism, and how they lead viewers to increasingly extremist content.

zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder

Can we actually feed the world?

Kunnen we de wereld eigenlijk wel voeden?

I made a scroll-animated globe, which takes the readers on a journey past a large variety of open-source data, e.g., on population growth, poverty, and land use. It fuels the question of whether we can sustainably feed the expected global population of 10 billion people.

zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder

Can forced birth control solve the worldwide food challenge?

Kan geboortebeperking het wereldwijde voedselprobleem oplossen?

In this data-driven article I debunk the myth that involuntary birth control can prevent excessive population growth in the near future. Interactive graphs and a population calculator explain key demographic concepts and let readers experience what birth rate changes would be needed.

zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
zo groeit de wereldbevolking verder
Please visit my project
gallery for more work
About me

Hi! I’m Mirjam Leunissen.
I convert raw data to precious insight.

I am an Amsterdam-based data journalist and visualization specialist with a PhD in physics and chemistry. I spend most of my time at national newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’, but I also work with a variety of other people, including government, academic institutions and companies.

I tell data-driven stories and convert complex information to actionable insight. Because the best visualizations readily reveal the big picture, the important patterns and the remarkable anomalies. My user-centered designs do so in an intuitive and engaging way.

Just tell me what you are looking for! I am also happy to present and inspire with the best examples from the field or to share my knowledge of best practices in data visualization and creative design thinking.