Pushing data journalism forward — the DJA 2017 roadmap

Submissions for the Data Journalism Awards 2017 are now open. This year’s competition will be about engagement, collaborations, more cash (and a trophy) as well as some rule-changing… In this article, we have a quick chat with Simon Rogers of Google News Lab, who is also director of the awards, to see what are his expectations. Plus we talk Slack, newsletter and shiny websites…

The DJA 2017 competition launched on 28 November 2016 and is open for submissions until 7 April 2017

The Global Editors Network launched last week the DJA 2017 competition, the first international awards celebrating data journalism worldwide. If you’re part of a team that made some pretty good data-driven projects in the past year and you think you might as well get kudos for them, you have until 7 April 2017 to apply.

There’s more cash

The money prizes this year add up to over $18,000 (US), almost double the amount of last year’s. To be more precise, every winner will get a DJA trophy and a $1,801 check. Why $1,801, I hear you ask… Well, 1801 is the year when pie charts were allegedly invented by William Playfair, and we know how pie charts can spark discussions among data journalists… Also, we simply wanted a fun fact to joke about. Feeling like knowing more about pie charts through history? Check out this link.

New categories list

We’ve reshuffled things a little this year. There are ten categories, two of them are new. The aim was to adapt to changes in the industry and better cater for smaller teams. So we have one category dedicated to “small newsrooms”, while most others are open to teams of any size. We also have a new “student and young data journalist of the year” category to bring light on new talent in the industry. You can get a full list of the categories and their descriptions here.

Data journalists, designers and developers from around the world can join the DJA Slack team

Building engagement with the data journalism community: the DJA Slack Team

We want the DJA 2017 competition to be as engaging and interactive as ever. So this year we’ve created a Slack team dedicated to the Data Journalism Awards community. We organise monthly discussions there, where experts from the industry come and chat about topics related to data journalism. We had one on VR, one about building great data teams, an other on what makes a great data journalism project, and this month we’ll do one about the US election data journalism coverage.

In the DJA Slack team, members of the community get to chat, share and learn with other data journalists, designers and developers from around the world. So far we’ve got about 150 members, representing 40 countries and all sorts of skills. If you want to join the community, you should fill this form.

Simon Rogers, Data Editor at Google News Lab, director of the DJA 2017 competition

Guidelines by Simon Rogers, DJA Director

Data journalism has been quite a subject this year within the news industry, from helping to monitor the refugee crisis to raising the alarm on fraud and tax evasions worldwide. Simon Rogers is data editor at the Google News Lab. He is also the director of the Data Journalism Awards.

In the below interview, he tells us what he’s looking forward to in this year’s competition and gives advice to participants.

What are your expectations for this year’s competition?

Simon Rogers: Data journalism has shaped the world this year, with innovative projects springing up around the globe. I’d like to see that global innovation reflected in entries from around the world. Great data journalism isn’t bound by budgets, but imagination.

There is a new category called “Student and young data journalist of the year”. Why did you create it and what do you hope to get out of it?

SR: There’s a whole generation of young reporters for whom working with the data is just part of what they do. We want to showcase the most exciting work by tomorrow’s best reporters.

Do you think data journalism is in good shape today and why?

SR: In some ways it’s never been stronger — having become part of the mainstream of so many news outlets. At the same time there are significant challenges for data journalists which haven’t been fixed. Too often, data journalists work in isolation from the rest of the newsroom. It’s great that data journalism has become so popular. Now we have to look ahead to its future.

Finally, what advice do you have for participants?

SR: This isn’t about rewarding the biggest news organisations, but about rewarding the best and most interesting work. If you’re not sure about entering, go on — we’d love to see what you’ve been up to.

A shiny new website

Yes we have a brand new website this year, built to better portray our thrive for innovation. You will find all the information you can think of about the Data Journalism Awards competition, the list of jury members and categories, the rules of the competition and how to apply, as well as ways to get in touch with the team.

The DJA newsletter

It is sent twice a month and is curated by yours truly (manager of the competition) working with Simon Rogers (DJA Director). It is packed with our pick of the best data journalism projects and visualisations from around the world as well as the latest info on the DJA competition and Slack community. You should definitely subscribe to it here.


Started in 2012, the DJA competition is organised by the Global Editors Network (GEN), with support from the Google News Lab, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and in partnership with Chartbeat. The goal of this competition is not only to reward the best projects of the past year, but also to get a comprehensive picture of trends and developments in the industry.

Previous winning organisations include BuzzFeed, Quartz, The New York Times, The Guardian, ProPublica, La Nación as well as smaller organisations such as Ojo Publico, Civio Foundation and Convoca.

Simon Rogers, Data Editor at Google News Lab, is the director of the DJA competition which takes place under the presidency of Paul Steiger, Executive Chairman of ProPublica’s board of directors. Marianne Bouchart is the manager of the competition.