Would you like to participate in Dataharvest Digital, but don’t really have the money? If you are from Central, Eastern or Southeastern Europe, you may be in luck: We have grants that cover your participation fee. Apply and join the fun!

We have 200 grants to give out, and we will distribute them between as many countries as possible. We also strive for balance between young and experienced journalists, male and female, with and without cross-border experience.

Apply here


Did you buy a ticket for the 2020 Dataharvest conference in Mechelen? The conference has now changed to an online event, and you have 3 options for your ticket:

  • Change your ticket to a gift card/value voucher that you can use for Dataharvest Digital in September-November 2020 or for the Dataharvest conference in Mechelen in May 2021.
  • Cancel your ticket and make a donation of your choice to help us through the coming months.
  • Cancel your ticket and get the full amount back.

Please act before August 15! After that date, the conference will be closed, while we focus on Dataharvest Digital.

Your support is important to us. When you choose a gift card or to give a donation, it shows our donors that the community around Dataharvest values the  conference and the work done there, and that helps us make sure we can  come back with an even better Dataharvest every year. So if you decide to make a donation for us, we are more than grateful!

To cancel or change your ticket, use the link in the confirmation email you received upon registration. It will look something like this https://pretix.eu/dataharvest/EIJC2020/order/XXXXX/m6vno8vgngamnwas/open/fad2f46dd/, where the Xs are your order number. Scroll to the button for the cancellation options (this will also take you to the options of changing to a gift card/value voucher). If you have paid with a bank transfer, have problems or questions, please contact media@journalismarena.eu.  

See you online – and in Mechelen in May 2021!

Or: Why we decided to claim a fee for an online conference

Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference 2020 – is going online because of the coronavirus and is now Dataharvest Digital 2020. We hope that the investigative journalism community will join us on these unknown waters!

We do this at a time, when many conferences move from real life to digital meeting places, and some do it for free. At Arena, we have considered carefully how to go about participation fees for an online conference: Should participation be free or for a fee?

We have decided on a participation fee – for several reasons:

  • Because training and knowledge sharing are valuable. We do not want to depreciate the fabulous gifts by our speakers and trainers by giving their contribution away for free.
  • Many on the investigative and data journalism community are freelancers and cross-fund their journalism by teaching and training. We don’t want to undermine their possibilities by giving away training for free.
  • In some countries, mid-career training is a functioning infrastructure, for example supported by labour agreements between journalists’ and publishers’ associations. We do not want to endanger these well-working systems.
  • The underlying concern is, of course, how publishers gave away online news in the 90ies in the quest for clicks. We have seen the decade-long struggle to ensure funding for good journalism after that move. We do not want to repeat that mistake.

Still, we want to make Dataharvest Digital accessible for all. The fee is much lower than the usual conference fee, there are no travel and hotel costs and the program is flexible over several months. We have reduced fees for freelancers and students, and we have managed to fundraise for participation stipends for colleagues from countries in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe.

The fees will be:EmployeesFreelancers/Students
Full conference€90€60
2 months€75€45
1 month€40€25

Like the Dataharvest Digital itself, the participation fee is an experiment. Please comment on our choices – we will gather all comments and include them in our evaluation. All feedback on practicalities, presentations or principles is important, because we hope to use the experience from the Dataharvest Digital 2020 to learn for future digital networking between the real-life conferences.

Inviting a lot of precious colleagues is a pleasure. Particularly since we all are craving for contact with peers and pals, to chat without a screen between us or to just have a cup of coffee or a good old Belgian beer.

Still, we have decided to turn Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference 2020 into a digital gathering altogether. And we are going to make the best of it: we will distribute as much of the conference as possible over three months from September to November 2020. We will offer trainings, workshops, network meetings, individual advice as well as a social gatherings online.

Welcome to Dataharvest Digital 2020!

The reason is obvious. In the efforts to limit COVID-19, two activities are considered particularly dangerous: large gatherings and interregional/international travel. Both apply to the in-person meeting at Dataharvest, a meeting we all were looking forward to, but which is highly insecure.

The path forward is trying out new formats, that will allow us to offer the professional knowledge-sharing and training as well as some of the networking that happens at the real-life conferences. Over the years, the feedback from participants has given us great inspiration, though two points have given recurring criticism – the quality of the conference coffee and the fact that we had too many parallel sessions which made it difficult to choose. This year, we will distribute the sessions over three months for everybody to choose a good moment, and the coffee quality is all up to you yourself.

We have also decided that the digital conference will not be offered free of charge. Our speakers and trainers are top journalists and lecturers donating their time to the community; digital meeting spaces cost money and organising a series of high quality presentations and trainings takes lots of time and work. You can join in for one, two or three months and a discount price for students and freelancers. Furthermore, we have been able to obtain participation grants for colleagues from Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Read more on fees

When the coronavirus restrictions were introduced, many had already registered for Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference in Mechelen. Registered participants can to get a voucher for the value of their ticket to use for the 2021 conference, get a full refund or make a full or partial donation to run the conference 2020 and prepare the conference 2021 (if you registered, further instructions will be in your mailbox later today).

We are grateful to all our speakers and trainers donating their time for the online programme. And we are grateful to all our funders for allowing us to adjust to the coronavirus situation.

Now we are looking forward to meet good colleagues for the Dataharvest Digital 2020 from September to November! Ticket sales begin this week, the preliminary program will be published August 10th at the latest.

Let’s make the very best of this and see if we can use this extraordinary situation to develop new ways of networking for journalists – this just may be the moment for developing something new and useful for the future!

Until soon!

The Arena conference team