Making data count: winners of the Data Journalism Awards 2017 go for impact

Twelve international projects raise standards for journalism that matters

All winners with Nuray Mert (center), Simon Rogers, DJA Director (second left) and Bertrand Pecquerie, GEN CEO (far left) © Photos by: Rainer Mirau for GEN

The sixth Data Journalism Award competition was bigger, better and bolder than ever. This year’s was the largest and most internationally represented with 573 submissions from 51 countries.

The twelve winning projects were announced during a ceremony and gala dinner on 22 June 2017 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

Ranging from the political to the criminal, covering medicine and musicals, these best examples of data journalism from 2016–2017 proved that the field is becoming ever more powerful and sophisticated every year.

Also being honoured was Nuray Mert, receiving the Vienna Journalism Fellowship for her journalistic and political science work in Turkey.

Simon Rogers, DJA Director (Google News Lab) summed up the event: “This was a record year, not only for numbers of entries but also for their quality. Data journalism is now a force to be reckoned with across the globe.”

The Winners:

1. Student and young data journalist of the year: Yaryna Serkez, Ukraine
 Portfolio includes among other stories:

1) Three Days Before Spring, a reconstruction of the last three days of the Euromaidan revolution.

2) Anatomy of the Carpathians, from the environmental problems to the potential of the economic growth

3) The Troll Network, a network visualization of pro-Russian trolls in the Ukrainian segment of Facebook

2. News data app of the year: Electionland, ProPublica and The Electionland Coalition, United States,

“Electionland was the largest journalism collaboration ever dedicated to covering a single breaking news event. We had 1,100 journalists working on and before Election Day on Nov. 8: About 600 journalism school students found and verified social media reports of Election problems, more than 100 professional journalists staffed a live newsroom at CUNY Journalism School on Nov. 8 sending story leads to about 400 local journalists around the country.”

3. Data visualisation of the year: The Rhymes Behind Hamilton, The Wall Street Journal, United States,
 “An unlikely candidate for data visualization, “The Rhymes Behind Hamilton” uses an algorithm to analyze the complex rhyming structure and inspiration behind the Broadway hit, “Hamilton: The Musical.” Using an algorithm developed by Wall Street Journal graphics editors Erik Hinton and Joel Eastwood, the piece identifies and visualizes the rhyming structures that make the lyrics so powerful and memorable, drawing comparisons with other songs that inspired creator Lin Manuel-Miranda”

4. Open data: Database of Assets of Serbian Politicians, Crime and Corruption Reporting Network — KRIK, Serbia

“KRIK created the most comprehensive online database of assets of Serbian politicians, which currently consists of property cards of all ministers of Serbian government and all Serbian presidential candidates running in 2017 Elections. The database was launched to help Serbian citizens to better understand who are the people running their country and promote greater transparency. “

5. The Chartbeat award for the best use of data in a breaking news story, within first 36 hours:
 Fact Check: Trump And Clinton Debate For The First Time, NPR / NPR Visuals & NPR Politics, United States

“NPR approached the task with an eye to fostering a trust relationship with our audience through immediacy and transparency. We eventually landed on the old school idea of annotating candidates’ words. After important speeches, beat reporters from across the newsroom checked the facts and provided context and background.”

6. Small newsroom, two winners:

 Ctrl+X, Abraji — Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism, Brazil

“The project Ctrl+X is a database that gathers lawsuits in which people, politicians or companies try to remove content from the internet and hide information from Brazilian audience. We scrape on-line information about these actions to analyze and publish them in a big interactive infographic.”

Crime in Context, The Marshall Project, United States

Crime in Context, The Marshall Project, United States

“We started with the seemingly simple question: “Is crime in America rising or falling?” The answer is not nearly as clear as politicians would have us believe because of how the FBI handles crime data from the country’s more than 18,000 police agencies. Rather than relying on partial-year data and comparing one year to the previous, we analyzed more than 40 years of violent crime data from 68 of the nation’s largest police jurisdictions.“

7. Best individual portfolio: John Burn-Murdoch, Financial Times, United Kingdom

Portfolio includes among other stories:

1) Statistical analysis of the driving forces behind the Leave campaign’s victory in the EU Referendum

2) Modelling the different results that could have arisen from alternative turnout scenarios in the EU Referendum

3) Visual exploration of how the US electorate shifts back and forth from Democrat to Republican every eight years

8. Best team portfolio: Berliner Morgenpost Interactive team

“In 2016 and early 2017 the team delved into new story formats and new research methods: From evaluating satellite images (These are Germany’s Greenest Cities) to data-driven animations (Berlin Marathon 2016 in Time-Lapse) and analyses of historical elections (It Wasn’t Always the East — Where Germany Votes for the Far-Right).”

9. Investigation of the year: Unfounded, The Globe and Mail, Canada

“Unfounded is an in-depth, 20-month Globe and Mail investigation into how Canadian police services handle sexual-assault cases. Our goal was to help Canadians understand the systemic issues with how sexual-assault cases are handled in this country, and in so doing, drive change in government policy.”

10. Data journalism website of the year: Rutas del Conflicto, Rutas del Conflicto, Colombia
 “Rutas del Conflicto is an online and independent media that gathers information from the armed conflict in Colombia through journalistic databases, narrative content, research and investigative journalism. The project started driven by the need to provide visibility to Colombian armed conflict events that had not been narrated by the traditional media or the State, in official documents.“

11. Public choice: Researchers bet on mass medication to wipe out malaria in L Victoria Region, Nation Media Group, Kenya

“This project explored the first of a kind project being implemented around Lake Victoria, the worst affected area in Kenya, which aims at eradicating mosquitoes. The researchers through phases are conducting mass medication in an effort to wipe out the disease.”

Over the past six years, the Global Editors Network has organised the Data Journalism Awards competition to celebrate and credit outstanding work in the field of data-driven journalism worldwide. To see the full list of winners, read about the categories, join the competition yourself, go to our website. You can also follow the hashtag #dja2017 on Twitter.

Watch the Data Journalism Awards 2017 Ceremony

Like what you read? Give Christian Jensen a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.