European Press Prize shortlist highlights the power of data journalism


Since 2013, the European Press Prize has recognised journalism of the highest quality across the continent. The Prize was originally conceived as a means to support a struggling journalism sector, plagued by transforming, pressured market and fragile press freedom.

But, this year, as with every other, it clear that Europeans are still producing excellent public service stories. The shortlist for the 2018 prize includes 25 groundbreaking and innovative projects from 19 different countries. 

The winners will be announced on 14 March 2018. In the meantime, we took a look at five innovative nominees that used data driven or digital storytelling methods.

1. Enslaved land

Enslaved Land is a one year data driven and cross-border investigation developed by eldiario.es newsroom in collaboration with El Faro. This project reveals the hidden sides of the economy in developing countries that is based in agro industry and plantations. The project involved nearly 20 journalists that uncovered the hidden abuses behind five different crops consumed widely in Europe -palm oil, sugar, coffee, cocoa, and banana- in four countries: Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras and Ivory Coast. The project is shortlisted for the Innovation Award.
Image: eldiario.es and El Faro.
2. The Malta Files

Although profiting from the advantages of EU membership, Malta also welcomes large companies and wealthy private clients who try to dodge taxes in their home countries. Over three months, EIC.network has dug into hundreds of thousands of documents that show how Malta operates a tax system where companies pay the lowest tax on profits in the EU. The Malta Files investigative project is also an excellent example of collaobrative journalism, bringing together 13 media and 49 journalists in 16 countries and 12 languages. It is shortlisted for the Investigative Reporting Award.

Image: EIC.

3. Bureau Local

The Bureau Local is an innovative journalism and technology team working with local reporters to dig into datasets and tell the stories that matter to communities across the UK. In 2017, the Bureau Local tackled some of the most important and underreported stories of the year, including use of political darks ads, new election voters, cuts to domestic violence refuge funding, immigration officers incorrectly targeting British citizens and wide-scale farming pollution. The team has been shortlisted for the Innovation Award.
Image: Bureau Local.
4. The Smuggling Game
Over the past two years, more than a million migrants have fled fighting and poverty across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, many entrusting their lives to people smugglers who charge exorbitant prices to help them reach Europe. The Smuggling Game uses an interactive graphics package to reveal the mechanics of the perilous journey undertaken by those on the quest for a safe life and those who profit from it. The story was produced by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and is shortlist for the Innovation Award.

Image: Thomson Reuters Foundation.

5. Damned Hoax

Maldito Bulo, or Damned Hoax, is a fact-checking project aimed at making the debunking of fake news go as viral as the fake news itself. Seven journalists and one engineer created a format on social media that hands users all the tools to expose a hoax or fake news. The format is either an image or a video that can be shared through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp or Telegram. In addition to the format, they have developed a database which allows users to search for debunked fake news or denounce it if Maldito Bulo has not debunked it yet, as well as a browser plug-in that alerts users if they are visiting a site that regularly publishes fake news and raises a debunked alert if it comes across fake news that is in the Maldito Bulo database.

Image: Maldito Bulo.

Find out more about the European Press Prize here.