And the winners of the Data Journalism Awards are…


In January this year the Global Editors Network in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre launched the first edition of the Data Journalism Awards (DJA). With over 300 applications from 60 countries received in less than three months and an outstanding group of experts sitting on the jury led by ProPublica's founder Paul Steiger, the competition has been dubbed the “Pulitzer prize of data journalism."

Below are the six winners of the 2012 edition of the Data Journalism Awards, announced during a ceremony hosted today at the News World Summit in Paris. Each winner is being rewarded with EUR 7.500 and a certificate created by the famous Le Monde cartoonist Plantu.


Cartoon created by Plantu for the DJA certificates

1. DATA-DRIVEN INVESTIGATIONS (national/international)

Terrorists for the FBI (Mother Jones and UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, USA)

“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.” (Giannina Segnini, La Nacion, Costa-Rica - jury member)


Methadone and the Politics of Pain (The Seattle Times, USA)

“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.” (Giannina Segnini)


Riot Rumours (The Guardian, UK)

Jury comment: “This jumps out as the most original and compelling piece of data journalism and visualisation.” (Peter Barron, Google - jury member)

“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.” (Justin Arenstein, African News Innovation Challenge - jury member)


Pedestrian Crashes in Novosibirsk (Nikolay Guryanov, Stas Seletskiy and Alexey Papulovskiy, Russia)

Jury comment: “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.” (Justin Arenstein)

5. DATA-DRIVEN APPLICATIONS (national/international)

Transparent Politics (Polinetz AG, Switzerland)

Jury comment: “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.” (Aron Pilhofer, New York Times - jury member)

6. DATA-DRIVEN APPLICATIONS (local/regional)

Illinois School Report Cards (Chicago Tribune, USA)

Jury comment: “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.” (Aron Pilhofer)



The jury recognised three other outstanding projects which received a honorable mention: 

1. DATA DRIVEN INVESTIGATIONS (national/international)

Subsidies for the Bus Transportation System (La Nacion, Argentina)

Jury comment: “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.” (Paul Radu, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project - jury member)

Jury comment: “This work constitutes a good exercise in transparency of public spending with excellent processing of raw data and simple/easy to interact applications.” (Giannina Segnini)


How Quickly Did Help Arrive (The Detail, UK)

Jury comment: “Very clean project with clear applications in policy change.” (Paul Radu)

Jury comment: “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.” (Giannina Segnini)


Every Death on Every Road in Great Britain, 1999-2010 (BBC, UK)

Jury comment: “I found this interesting, informative and engaging. Using this interactive was enjoyable and educational.” (Joshua Hatch, The Sunlight Foundation - jury member)

The complete list of 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 so keep an eye on datajournalismawards.org for updates. You can watch the video recording of the awards ceremony here.


The Data Journalism Awards is a Global Editors Network initiative supported by Google and organized in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre. Please visit the Data Journalism Awards website for the full list of winners and shortlisted projects.