How to Find Stories in EU Spending Data


Caelainn Barr, EU data journalist, formerly with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, London, talks about how to find stories in EU spending data at the EJC/OKF data driven journalism workshop in Utrecht, 8-9 September. Caelainn worked as part of a team in collaboration with the Financial Times to create the first comprehensive EU structural funds database.

Caelainn Barr - 'How to Find Stories in EU Spending Data' from European Journalism Centre on Vimeo.

The investigation tackled a web of bureaucracy to uncover the abuse of EU money by the Italian mafia the ‘Ndrangheta and the development of illegal hotels in the UNESCO biosphere of Lanzarote. The team also revealed that money was going to large multinational businesses and tobacco companies for whom the funds were never intended. The results raised serious questions about the efficacy of EU spending and the Commission’s power to police the funds.

The findings of the investigation were published by the Financial Times, aired in a TV documentary for Al Jazeera’s People and Power and BBC Radio 4, File on Four. The project won the Thompson Reuters Award for Reporting Europe and was shortlisted for an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award in 2011.