Illustration by Christina S. Zhu

#MeToo in the medical sector: investigating the extent of sexual harassment committed by doctors 

What happens to doctors convicted of sexual harassment? How often do they lose their license and which sanctions do they face? Four journalists wanted to dig deeper into this phenomenon and find out just how widespread it was in their respective countries (Germany, Croatia, France, and Italy). 

Join us for a session with Cécile Debarge, Margherita Bettoni, and Jelena Prtorić to learn more about their investigation and what methods they used to track harassment in the medical field in four EU countries.

In December 2020, a retired French surgeon Joël Le Scouarnec, accused of sexually abusing over 300 young children over decades, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the very first trial against him. Many of his victims were his patients. In Germany, an internationally respected HIV specialist allegedly abused and, in some cases, assaulted patients in his care, revealed an investigation of Buzzfeed Germany in 2019. Many other cases of sexual abuse and harassment committed by medical doctors have been reported by the media in both France and Germany, as well as in other parts of Europe.

In the past years, the #Metoo movement has swept the entertainment industry, the instances of widespread sexual harassment were reported within different institutions and in multiple countries. This research in four European countries has shown that sexism, harassment, and sexualized violence are endemic in the medical sector as well. 

Over eight months, the four journalists worked to create a comprehensive database of cases of sexual abuse and harassment in four different countries. In this session, they are going to guide you through the whole process: How they obtained the information from the medical authorities in their countries and at the European level; how they reached out to the survivors and gathered their stories, and how they dealt with data gaps.

“Accessing official data in Germany wasn’t complicated. The problem was the discrepancy between the officially registered cases of sexual abuse against patients (very few), and what experts, lawyers, psychotherapists, and women whom we talked to told us about the scale of the problem in Germany. So we had to find alternative ways of understanding how widespread the phenomenon really is,” explains Margherita Bettoni, investigative journalist.

In Germany, this involved, for instance, setting up a survey through which the victims were able to reach out to journalists or simply tell their stories. 

In other countries – France, Italy, and Croatia – it was much harder to gain access to the data. In some cases, the authorities even didn’t have the data; the survey asking victims to share their stories only got few (non-anonymous) answers.

“Having no official figures meant that we had to find another way to describe how common the phenomenon was,” says Cécile Debarge, French investigative journalist. “First, I collected roughly 75 stories published in the French newspapers over the last decade. Then, a doctor gave me a tip – the Medical Chamber has published some of the appealed disciplinary decisions. I built a second database that I cross-checked with the first one – I collected and analyzed 72 appealed decisions. This is not an exhaustive database, but the sample was significant enough for me to build my story.”

In Croatia, the national medical Chambre and the Health authorities were much less forthcoming. The investigation involved “an extensive FOI operation, which started last summer – and in some cases, still is ongoing; analysis of the media reports, and follow-up stories on the cases that came under media scrutiny in the past,” explains Jelena Prtorić, investigative journalist from Croatia. 

The team also included investigative journalist Julianne Löffler from Germany (Buzzfeed Germany).

Join us for the session to hear more about these difficult approaches, what results they’ve yielded and how you could replicate the methodologies in your country

You can find past and future stories here: 

Have our data sessions inspired you, but you feel there is still so much you could learn? Are you interested in investigating stories about the climate crisis, energy transition, or environmental wrongdoing and you need some help in making sense of the datasets you’ve come across? Have you wondered how the open-source tools can help you investigating environmental stories?

We are here to help! This year, you have the opportunity to book our trainers for “office hours” and get some one-on-one time with them to delve into the data and hone your data journalism and OSINT skills.

Please note that the data mentorship sessions will focus on climate/energy/environmental data and that the OSINT questions should also be related to climate/energy/environment. 

The sessions will take place after the official program of Dataharvest 2021:

  • The Data mentorship sessions will take place on Mondays June 14, June 21 and June 28 (time slots to be determined depending on the number of the participants)
  • The OSINT sessions will take place in the week of June 14 (specific dates and times will be determined with the trainer).

Both data and OSINT mentorship sessions are supported by the European Climate Foundation.

Climate data mentorship sessions

In 3 weeks and 3 lessons, our mentors will help you question the climate-related datasets of your choice. There will be learning, there will be homework and in the end, these tools and knowledge will hopefully allow you to continue working on the topic of your choice.

Please make sure you can spare have at least 4 hours per week for the course. If possible, attend the climate sessions on June 4 at Dataharvest, not least Aviation: how to analyse major airlines’ offset programmes?

Your mentors will be Adriana Homolova and Jonathan Stoneman. Please sign up for the data mentorship here

OSINT mentorship sessions

Do you want to track deforestation in your country by analyzing satellite images or track vessels in order to investigate the impact of the fishing industry on our oceans? During the week of June 14, you will have the possibility to book one-on-one sessions with our trainer Ben Heubl who will be able to help you out with all your “environmental OSINT” questions!

If you are interested in the OSINT mentorship sessions, please get in touch with in order to find out more and book your time slot.

Register here

Do you have questions related to the climate sessions or data/OSINT mentorship? Please reach out to Jelena Prtoric


In 2021, the Suez Canal obstruction has reminded us how shipping is central to our global economy. But shipping industry is also among the world’s biggest polluters and tax avoiders. Join us for a session with a cross-border team that has investigated this often opaque industry over the course of one year.

Register for the session here

Objectives to fight the climate crisis are clear: global emissions need to be reduced, across countries and sectors. The shipping industry’s emissions are larger than those of Germany, they seriously impact our climate and they are continuing to rise. The industry is also awarded huge subsidies, saving billions through preferential tax arrangements offered by European countries.

Craig Shaw,  Nikolas Leontopoulos and Zeynep Sentek wanted to know if the shipping industry and IMO – the International Maritime Organisation, a division of the United Nations – are serious in their efforts to reduce emissions.

They and their team travelled to different European countries, interviewed climate activists, experts, politicians, lobby groups, shipowners and health professionals.  They’ll present us their findings and their methodology. You should also check out their documentary.

Olaf Merk who leads leads the work on ports and shipping at the International Transport Forum (ITF) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will also join the panel to share his work about shipping’s tax evasion. Merk collected financial records of around one hundred major shipping companies, hoping to “put a number on” the industries’ tax burden.

“On average, the tax rate of the shipping industry is around 7 percent of their profits, which is well below the average OECD rate for corporate tax income, which is around 24% (…)  For example, concerning the cruise sector, we found out that on average their tax rate is 0%,” Merk stated.

“Confronting “the bad guys” is an essential part of an investigation.

Every journalist is bound to, at least once in their career, to call up “the antagonist”, to confront them with what was said about them, ask for clarifications and counter arguments. Many of us dread that moment, and it is sometimes hard to estimate when exactly we should make the dreadful call.

Journalists Margherita Bettoni, Nils Hanson and Micael Pereira who have confronted many “bad guys” in their career, will join us for a session to talk about how and when they decide to confront the subject of their investigation.

Register for the session here

Nils Hanson, Sweden

If something fills us with anxiety, we might want to postpone it for the very last minute. But veteran investigative journalist Nils Hanson believes this not necessarily a great idea. “This is not something you do dutifully at the last minute. On the contrary, it should be one of the significant parts of an investigation. If you are sincerely searching for the truth, you should ask yourself: How soon can I contact “the other side”? The sooner, the better,” he says. By establishing early contact with the subject of the investigation, you can get explanations and facts you otherwise probably will miss, he believes.

Margherita Bettoni, Italy/Germany

In some investigations, however, that might not be the best idea. Margherita Bettoni who has specialised, among other things, in coverage of the Italian mafia in Germany, stresses that while the confrontation in an early stage might be useful in some cases – in others it might give the “bad guy” precious time to cover his wrongdoing. “While investigating dangerous criminals, it might even be recommendable to confront them just short before publication to avoid safety risks,” she points out.

Micael Pereira, Portugal

But the question is not just when, but also how. Portuguese journalist Micael Pereira says that bad guys should be confronted “in a way we can expose the ethical and emotional dilemmas they are involved with.”

“This should be done, ideally, face to face so that we can avoid the effect of mediation from crisis managers and media experts hired to make them look less bad. Truth about this kind of character is larger than facts and investigative journalism can have a stronger impact if we incorporate it in the building of our narratives. If we leave the chance to meet them for last, we risk losing that — and also losing the fun of doing it,” he says. 

You have access to this big data set, you have downloaded all the software, you know how to scrape and clean. But until now, all you have is numbers. Where is the STORY?

Many data journalism trainers have noticed that journalists focus too much on the software and technology and not enough on what kind of story the data tell. One was British data journalist and data journalism professor Paul Bradshaw (BBC and professor at Birmingham City University)  – and he decided to do something about it. Hear the result on Thursday May 27 at Dataharvest 2021.

“Over the years I have seen that people seem to focus too much on the technology as an end in itself,” says Paul Bradshaw. “I was talking about different kinds of data stories, but not in a systematic way. So one day I took 100 pieces of data journalism, tried to classify them and see what kind of stories kept recurring. So that was it, really.”

The result was a list of 7 typical data stories in the news – and one extra. Once the categories were defined, it was clear that they could be used not just for analysis of published news stories, but also to see the story from the very beginning. And they de-mystify data journalism for beginners.

“The categories help to reduce some of the fears, anxieties, or misconceptions about data journalism,” says Bradshaw. “People are mostly aware of very big, ambitious, technically complex data projects – and they think that it has to be like that from the start. Now people can see that a simple “this-has-changed” story or “this-is-how-big-a-problem-is” story is not technically demanding, you just have to add things up. At the next step you may need to subtract or find a percentage. So it gives a better conception of what data journalism is, and an entry point that is very accessible.”

“In the other end of the scale, you have the “bad data” stories or the “no data” stories. They are relatively rare compared to the other types, but it is a useful category. When you cannot find data, you sometimes think that you don’t have a story, whereas it is really the lack of data that is the story.”

Bradshaw uses the categories himself, even after many years of doing data journalism:

“They are useful for experienced journalists, too, I have found that when I approach a story, I tend to have habits and look for the same kind of stories. Then it is useful to force oneself to come up with angles for all these 7 or 8 categories. It forces you to break your routines. It forces me to think out of the box.”

Paul Bradshaw’s 7 categories of stories are 1) Scale, 2) Change, 3) Ranking, 4) Variations 5) Explore 6) Relationships 7) Bad data/open. And the extra one? Join the session to find out!

Paul Bradshaw’s blog on online journalism


We are very happy and proud that the European Press Prize has decided to have its 2021 award ceremony at Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference.

The prizes will be announced on Thursday June 3 at 12 noon – the second last days of this year’s online Dataharvest Conference. After the announcement of the winners, each project will be presented and discussed, moderated by the director for Arena for Journalism in Europe, Brigitte Alfter.

Five awards will be given:

  • The Innovation Award
  • The Distinguished Reporting Award
  • The Investigative Reporting Award
  • The Opinion Award
  • The Special Award

The panel of judges of the European Press Prize are Sylvie Kauffmann (Le Monde), Alan Rusbridger (former editor of The Guardian), Alexandra Föderl-Schmid (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Sheila Sitalsing (freelance/de Volkskrant) and Juan Luis Sánchez (

Candidates for the prizes can come from all 47 countries in the Council of Europe. The prizes can be given to teams of journalists or individuals. Each award is for 10,000 euros, to be spent on a project that may enrich the practice of journalism.

This year, over one thousand pieces of journalistic work were submitted for the prizes, so there was a lot of reading for the preparatory committee, before they announced shortlists of 5 candidates in each category.

We asked the European Press Prize coordinator Aylin Özalp what distinguishes this prize from other journalistic awards:

“It is the only Europe-wide journalistic prize out there. There are global and national prizes elsewhere, but this is the only one that crosses all European borders. It is also very special that people can enter their articles in their original languages. We translate everything that goes into the longlist and later the shortlist into English. It takes away quite some barriers for journalists who do not write in English.”

Why did you decide to have the award ceremony in cooperation with Arena and Dataharvest?

“We are longtime friends of the Dataharvest conference. It is a conference that we always visit, be it live or as last year online, because we see that our laureates – and sometimes potential laureates – also attend this festival. Here is a big bunch of talented people who are exploring new methods together. The conference is a place where people share knowledge and experience, and that is very special,” says Aylin Özalp:

“Dataharvest is an amazing platform for our winner announcement and to have our winners talk about their winning pieces. It is exactly the right audience for them to talk about their articles, being in a community that understands what their work really means.”

Register for the Dataharvest Conference

Carmen Aguilar García

Curious about how one can investigate big polluters in Europe? Save the date May 21, 4:00 pm CET and join us at the Dataharvest conference for a session on how to track industrial emissions.

Register for the conference here

The UK has pledged that by 2050, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by all the cars, homes and industry in the country will be net-zero. Manufacturing and industry – that are the drivers of the country’s economy and important job providers – often escape public scrutiny. A data-led investigation found out that 15 firms are responsible for around a sixth of all the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

The investigation was a cross-border collaboration between Sky News (UK), El Pais (Spain), Le Figaro (France), Le Soir (Belgium) and Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland).

“We used publicly available data from the European Trade System (ETS) to find the installations that produced more CO2 emissions in 2019, and we dug into companies’ public statements, news media articles, and companies’ account reports to track the parent companies responsible for each installation and therefore the emissions allocated in the ETS,” explains data journalist Carmen Aguilar García. They also considered the UK carbon budget, “in order to put the ETS figure into context in the wider picture of the CO2 emissions produced in the UK,” she explains.

The story made it to the top 10 Sky News story of the day.  In this session, Carmen Aguilar Garcia will take us through her investigation process, and share with us tips on how to deal with the ETS data, and replicate the methodology in other EU countries.

Read the investigation here



All women’s shelters full in this area. Nationwide research in Germany showed the surge in domestic violence during the pandemic and the lack of resources to deal sith the consequences.

In the midst of a national lockdown, already overcrowded womens’ shelters throughout Germany found themselves turning away dozens – sometimes even hundreds – of women in order to meet COVID-19 restrictions. While each federal state maintains its own system for funding shelters, there was an obvious national trend: Not enough space.

Join this session to hear how, during the lockdown, German investigative center CORRECTIV researched the surge in domestic violence together with 31 local media houses across Germany. They collected data, shared their research and began publishing nationwide from February 10.

From scraping to crowdsourcing, the session delves into Correctiv.Lokal’s data-driven approach to researching how womens’ shelters through Germany struggle to meet the needs of survivors of domestic violence. We’ll also talk about how we worked with local newsrooms throughout the country to bring our research to a wider audience.

The session takes place May 26 at 17:00 CET. See the full conference program and register

Arena/Dataharvest collaborates with the European Journalism Training Association on teachers’ conference on data journalism training .

2015 discussion on how to teach data journalism – by the table from left Delphine Reuter (Belgium), unknown, Peter Jonriksson (Sweden), Trine Smistrup (Denmark), (unknown), Stefan Candea (Romania).

Exactly six years ago today, Dataharvest opened a pre-conference meeting of a large group of data trainers from across Europe – pioneers, who had the skills and the overview to not just do data journalism but also teach it to others.

Nice to be reminded as we are just putting the finishing touches to what will be the one of largest gatherings about data journalism training in Europe so far: The annual teachers’ conference in the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA), this year on data journalism, planned and organized in collaboration between EJTA and Arena/Dataharvest.

It is futile to try to put a starting date to data journalism or data journalism training. The Dataharvest conference grew out of a group of journalists, collecting data on EU farm subsidies since 2009. Across the world, journalists to a larger degree began to find, download, and analyse data around 15 years ago, and “Computer-Assisted Reporting” developed into data journalism. It was a new skill, and no-one knew how it should be taught.

“We initiated a survey in early 2015 to gather knowledge and experience on how data journalism was taught and trained,” remembers Arena’s director Brigitte Alfter. “Then we invited a group of around 20 data trainers and teachers for a one-day seminar before the 2015 Dataharvest conference, so they could get to know each other and share their experiences and training material.”

There were participants from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and a trainers’ meeting was part of Dataharvest over the following years.

Today data journalism is journalism, not a separate nerdy department hidden in a corner of the newsroom. Knowledge on how to gather, clean and analyse data is a skill that most journalists need, and data journalism is on its way into the curriculum in most European journalism schools.

EJTA president, Eric Nahon from Institut Pratique du Journalisme Dauphine in Paris, says:

Data journalism and data literacy are becoming necessary to understand the world and the society we live in. Most journalists are kind of reluctant to use figures, numbers, or playing with statistic Then come the “nerdy ones”, using Excel, playing with R, talking about “scraping” etc. – but bringing very good stories and visualizations. This new field is something we had to look deeper into. And now is time to share and learn what we found.”

What are journalism schools struggling with in this connection?

“EJTA is about helping its members. So, when data journalism came up as a topic on informal discussions, it was clear that we had some teachers very good with data and some who were interested but did not know where to begin. So having practical sessions to focus on “how to teach/what to teach” is a good starting point for many EJTA members. And the more “advanced” colleague can pick some clever ideas to go forward on their own courses.

But I think the most difficult part of teaching data driven stories in journalism schools is… our students. Most of them are into words and not into figures and numbers. That needs to change, and that’s why we are talking about data literacy for journalists and about data driven stories. We need to find the stories behind the numbers.“

Why did you choose to collaborate with Arena/Dataharvest?

“That was a natural choice. Dataharvest is a famous and fine gathering of data journalist. It reflects the evolution of this peculiar field of journalism. Many of our teachers (professional journalists) are attending Arena/Dataharvest every year. It was obvious that a Mechelen-based organization would find a Mechelen-based “festival of journalism”.

The EJTA teachers’ conference is taking place online on May 20-21.

Looking to hone your data journalism skills? This years data sessions at Dataharvest again offer something for everybody. Our trainers will help you get into the right data state of mind. Not sure where to look for the right numbers? We have got you covered too. Data you need does not exist? No problem! Just create your own datasets.

Scraping the web for information is a recurring feature of our conference, this year coming back as two beginners sessions: scraping from scratch and scraping without programming.

During the data journalism week we’ll host extra special sessions on data-collaborations and automated sharing with other newsrooms.

Looking for getting hands on and nerdy? Joining tables in the powerful SQL will make you a data combination wizard. Or consider taking a basic Javascript class for visual storytelling? Data cleaning on steroids – that is regex.

And put a finishing touch on everything: learn about the many ways you can tell your data story.

Register here!