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Winners of the First Edition of the Data Journalism Awards Announced

31 May 2012 | PROJECT NEWS


The six winners and the three honorable mentions of the first edition of the Data Journalism Awards (DJA) organised by the Global Editors Network (GEN) were announced on 31 May during the DJA Ceremony hosted at the News World Summit in Paris. The ceremony was led by Paul Steiger, founder of ProPublica and president of the DJA Jury. Each winner was rewarded with EUR 7.500 and a certificate designed by famous French newspaper cartoonist Plantu.

The DJA is the first international competition to recognise outstanding work in the growing field of data journalism. The GEN initiative is supported by Google, and is organised in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre. The competition was open from 19 January until 11 April 2012. Over 300 complete applications from 60 countries were received in less than three months, including from Kenya, Uganda, Mexico, and Argentina. 

A jury of 10 leading data journalism experts, led by Paul Steiger, chose one winner out of 9 or 10 nominees for each of the six categories of the awards. “Data journalism is a new continent for journalists, and what we want to do with the DJA is to award the new digital explorers: who are the Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, John Cabot, Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Jacques Cartier of open data? We would like to set up quality standards for this essential part of tomorrow’s journalism”, said Xavier Vidal-Folch, President of the Global Editors Network. 

“We’re thrilled that the first Data Journalism Awards attracted such a broad, international range of high quality entries. The winners demonstrate what an important role data journalism is already playing in today’s media”, said Peter Barron, Director for External Relations EMEA, Google. 

“Data journalism is shaping up to be an essential part of journalistic work, and we believe that further developing expertise in this field will help journalists find more and better work in the present very challenging working environment”, said Wilfried Ruetten, Director of the European Journalism Centre. “The entries came from all over the world, and the six winners and three honorable mentions represented five countries on four continents. The competition clearly showed that digital techniques for capturing and making sense of data are taking their place among the most critical tools of journalism around the globe”, said Paul Steiger, Founder of ProPublica. 

A complete list of the winners follows: 

1. DATA-DRIVEN INVESTIGATIONS (national/international) 

Terrorists for the FBI (Mother Jones and UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, USA). Giannina Segnini (La Nacion, Costa-Rica), jury member, commented: “This story is, by far, the best investigative piece out of the nine proposals selected. It shows the significant effort required to gather large amounts of data, analyse it, and deeply investigate the individual cases. The analysis discovered a clear pattern on how the FBI generated terrorist plots from sting operations. The investigation proves that conclusion, not only with numbers, but also with in depth analysis and reporting on the field”. 


Methadone and the Politics of Pain (The Seattle Times, USA). Segnini commented: “This investigation combines the best standards of investigative journalism with the application of the finest tools of database journalism. For this story, the reporters went far beyond gathering, cleaning, and mapping data. They cross-referenced databases and proved a correlation between poverty and deaths linked to methadone. The reporting is in-depth, the texts are clear and the presentation is an example of transparency, explaining the audience the methods used and providing the source documents. Every relevant angle is covered (legal, medical, administrative and the background) and the interactive graphics are revealing, simple and easy to use.”

3. DATA VISUALISATION AND STORYTELLING (national/international) 

Riot Rumours (The Guardian, UK). Justin Arenstein (African News Innovation Challenge), jury member, commented: “This jumps out as the most original and compelling piece of data journalism and visualisation.” (Peter Barron, Google) Jury comment: “Visually compelling and intuitive but, more importantly, the visualisation helps to reveal trends and meaning that would not have been possible using traditional narrative techniques. The use of bubble graphics and organic growth also elegantly reinforce the message that rumours can mimic organisms.”  


Pedestrian Crashes in Novosibirsk (Nikolay Guryanov, Stas Seletskiy and Alexey Papulovskiy, Russia). Arenstein commented: “Good interactive visualisation of what can be very dry data, with intuitive navigation, in an interface that invites readers to engage with the information. The pre-packaged pullout ‘stories’ also efficiently relay information at a glance - while allowing readers to zoom in to get customised or personal detail.” 

5. DATA-DRIVEN APPLICATIONS (national/international) 

Transparent Politics (Polinetz AG, Switzerland). Aron Pilhofer (New York Times), jury member, commented: “This is a terrific project that exemplifies everything a good news app should. First, it is extremely well designed. Better than ours, I’m sorry to say. Beautiful, intuitive, approachable and meaty. Second, it brings into the light of day important information that heretofore was difficult for the public to find and digest. Outstanding work.”  

6. DATA-DRIVEN APPLICATIONS (local/regional) 

Illinois School Report Cards (Chicago Tribune, USA). Pilhofer commented: “This is the best of the bunch by far. For parents wanting to know how their school stacks up, this is exactly what you want. The Tribune handled a complex dataset just right: Instead of throwing a bunch of numbers at readers, in a sort of “you figure it out” way, they add context along with depth so the reader knows what they are looking at, and why it is important.” 

The Honorable Mentions are: 

1. DATA DRIVEN INVESTIGATIONS (national/international) 

Subsidies for the Bus Transportation System (La Nacion, Argentina). Paul Radu (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project), jury member, commented: “A lot of hard work involved and vision. This is the kind of data story that can grow over time and can take many shapes. Very useful.” Segnini commented: “This work constitutes a good exercise in transparency of public spending with excellent processing of raw data and simple/easy to interact applications.”  


How Quickly Did Help Arrive (The Detail, UK). Radu commented: “Very clean project with clear applications in policy change”. Segnini commented: “The topic is of the highest public interest. The data analysis is simple but rigorous and well explained. The story does a very useful service for the local audience.”  

3. DATA VISUALISATION AND STORYTELLING (national/international) 

Every Death on Every Road in Great Britain, 1999-2010 (BBC, UK). Joshua Hatch (The Sunlight Foundation), jury member, commented: “I found this interesting, informative and engaging. Using this interactive was enjoyable and educational.”  

The complete list of competition entries and their details will be made freely available in a database in autumn 2012 on the occasion of the launch of the second edition of the Data Journalism Awards. 

### Contacts: 

Antoine Laurent, DJA Project Manager Global Editors Network 

Mobile: + 33 6 29 16 06 13 


Liliana Bounegru, DJA Coordinator European Journalism Centre 


Emma De Linières, GEN Press Relations Global Editors Network 

Mobile: + 33 6 09 76 80 93 


Note to editors: More information about this project can be found on the Data Journalism Awards website.  

DJA Jury Members  

  • Paul Steiger, ProPublica, USA, President of the Jury 
  • Justin Arenstein, African News Innovation Challenge 
  • Peter Barron, Google 
  • Wolfgang Blau, Zeit Online 
  • Reginald Chua, Data Editor, Thomson Reuters 
  • Frederic Filloux, Les Echos 
  • Joshua Hatch, Online News Association 
  • Aron Pilhofer, New York Times 
  • Paul Radu, Investigative Journalism Association 
  • Gianina Segnini, La Nacion, Costa-Rica. 

About the Global Editors Network 

Founded in 2011, the Global Editors Network (GEN) is the first non-profit, non-governmental association that brings together editor-in-chiefs and senior news executives from all platforms: print, digital, mobile, and broadcast. By breaking down the barriers between traditional and new media, GEN aims to define an open journalism model for the future and to create new journalistic concepts and tools. 

About the European Journalism Centre 

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) is an independent, international, non-profit foundation dedicated to maintaining the highest standards in journalism in particular and the media in general. Founded in 1992 in Maastricht, the Netherlands, the EJC closely follows emerging trends in journalism and watchdogs the interplay between media economy and media culture. It also hosts each year more than 1,000 journalists in seminars and briefings on European and international affairs.

Data Journalism Awards
A leading actor in the field of data journalism, the EJC collaborated in 2012 with the Global Editors Network, organising the inaugural edition of the Data Journalism Award, the first data competition dedicated to journalism. Media outlets, NGOs, and freelance journalists competed in four categories: Data-driven journalism; Data storytelling; Data-driven applications; and Data-journalism websites.