We have a winner!

Thank you for your work on the quiz questions – some were more difficult than they looked! Several hundred took a look at the quiz; in the end, we had to draw lots between a Belgian and a German contestant with 100 per cent correct answers, and we have a winner:

Claudia Jentsch gets a free masterclass at the next Dataharvest conference! Congratulations!

Here are the correct answers:

1.) Please find a chronological list of the heads of state of the USA.

You can find a lot of these lists, but the first hand source is The White House. Library of Congress  is also a credible source.

2.) What was the cargo of this railroad car when the photo was taken?

The railroad car is carrying trichlorosilan – which can be found by searching for the orange numbers on the sign on the side. They refer to the United Nations ADR treaty, that regulates transport of dangerous goods and give all dangerous substances a 4-digit number.

3.) Which company operates the copiers at the University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg?

That was a tricky one! To find the answer, you have to search Tenders Electronic Daily to find the original tender for the university copiers. In that you will find different facts to use as your next search terms, for example the number of the tender: 2015/S 137-252970. Searching for that you will find that the contract was won by Ricoh Deutschland GmbH.

Yes, there are also public copy shops on the campus for the students to use, and they are run by the Elbe Werkstätte and Sönke Kruse GbR.

4.) The Internet company Yahoo has scanned the accounts of its users on behalf of US secret services. So what did Edward Snowden recommend via Twitter?

Snowden recommended to close Yahoo accounts in protest. The full tweet was “Use @Yahoo? They secretly scanned everything you ever wrote, far beyond what law requires. Close your account today.”

5.) Who is depicted here, and where does this statue stand?

The statue depicts Albania’s national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, and it is placed in Peshkopi, Albania, which can be found by a reverse picture search. The goat helmet also led some to the answer. The metadata in the picture says that it is Djengis Khan, but this guy doesn’t look very Mongolian, does he? Metadata can be faked too.

Thank you to all who participated – and to Albrecht Ude in Berlin, who crafted these conundrums.


Take our “Non-Opening Research Quiz”!

Win a free masterclass at the next Dataharvest conference!

This Friday at 10 am we were supposed to open the 10th Dataharvest conference – but, alas, the coronavirus came in the way. Let’s get together in another way this week – and take a little quiz challenge. Use your research skills, send in your answers before Friday morning at 9 am, and we will draw a winner at 10, when the conference was supposed to open. The prize is a free master class of your choice at the next Dataharvest conference. And if several have the same number of correct answers, we will draw lots.

The questions are crafted by none other than Albrecht Ude from Netzwerk Recherche – thanks for the help! And you can send in your answers to

Here we go:

1.) Please find a chronological list of the heads of state of the USA.

2.) What was the cargo of this railroad car when the photo was taken?

3.) Which company operates the copiers at the University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg?

4.) The Internet company Yahoo has scanned the accounts of its users on behalf of US secret services. So what did Edward Snowden recommend via Twitter?

5.) Who is depicted here, and where is this statue placed?

Have fun! And don’t forget to send your answers to before Friday 15 at 9am!



Read and listen through the locked-down Easter

Let’s get something good and useful out of lockdown! Easter holidays are coming up, and we can’t see family and friends to the extent that we would like to. So what to do with all that time? Here are some ideas from the Arena and Dataharvest team:

Nils Hanson, chairman of Arena for Journalism in Europe:

I would like to recommend a forgotten book, written many years ago, but still relevant today for all investigative journalists: ”Investigative reporting and editing” by Paul Williams. It was released in 1978, a few years after investigative journalism got its breakthrough through the Watergate story. And I can’t think of a better read for anyone who wants to gain more insights into the nature of investigative journalism.

It is a work that all subsequent handbooks should be compared to. And the fact is that no other book has so far been able to compete with this one. Paul Williams did a lot of research, he interviewed 99 investigative reporters and editors, and managed to go deeper than anyone else, before and after, into the structure of the investigative project. He described the various stages of an investigative project, from feasibility study and Continue reading “Read and listen through the locked-down Easter”


Dataharvest postponed until November 5-8, 2020

We have decided to postpone Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference because of the restrictions on travelling and gathering introduced by European health authorities. We fully support the purpose of these measures: to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

Instead, the conference will be held in Mechelen from November 5th to 8th, 2020. Continue reading “Dataharvest postponed until November 5-8, 2020”


Dataharvest and the coronavirus

Dear friends and participants of Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference,

It is two months and two days until the conference is set to open. Right now, more and more countries in Europe are introducing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. We are following the situation closely, we have a particular focus on the recent decisions by the Belgian health authorities, but we also follow travel advice and other measures by health authorities in other parts of Europe. We are in close contact with our venue, the Thomas More School in Mechelen, and their corona team. Continue reading “Dataharvest and the coronavirus”

FOI, News, Speakers

Meet the FOI fighters

The laws on access to information, often called FOI (Freedom of Information) for short, are some of our most important tools as investigative journalists. Following the paper trails is an art in itself, and many important investigations have reached their results through systematic – and creative – use of FOI. We have several sessions that give you tips and tricks during the conference. Among others, you can meet French Stéphane Horel from Le Monde, Swedish freelancer Continue reading “Meet the FOI fighters”

data skills, News, Speakers

Brush up your data skills with Jonathan Stoneman

At Dataharvest we have three full tracks of data skills training with great trainers from all over Europe. Meet one of them – Jonathan Stoneman, freelance data and journalism trainer, “based in the UK, but a European at heart”:

What are you going to teach at Dataharvest?

This year I am teaching R with my good friend Luuk Sengers. Together we have come up with a method of teaching people how to get to grips with R’s “Tidyverse” suite of packages and leaves them with the capacity to go on learning after they leave the classroom. Continue reading “Brush up your data skills with Jonathan Stoneman”


Dataharvest on a shoestring

Do you want to go to Dataharvest, but you are really low on money? Here are a few tips to keep costs down without missing out on the good stuff!

  • Get an Early Bird ticket this week. The deadline for Early Bird tickets is February 15, and until then the price is €190. After that tickets go up to €225 and €260.
  • If you are too late for the Early Bird discount: Get together with 4 others and register together – that gives a group discount, so you pay only €200 per person.
  • Save on sleeping – there is a cheap youth hostel in Mechelen with rooms for 2-5 people, so share! You can search for roommates in the Dataharvest Facebook group. There is also the possibility of couchsurfing – staying for free at a host’s home. Our good friends at Hostwriter have a special couchsurfing for journalists. There are also a number of Couchsurfer hosts in Mechelen – and don’t forget that Brussels with thousands of couchsurfer hosts is only a short train ride away. (more after the picture)
  • If you travel by train from Brussels – or just from and to the airport – there is a weekend discount from Friday at 7 pm until Sunday, and the tickets are half-price.
  • You probably don’t want to survive on cup noodles for 3 days, and Mechelen has quite a number of cheap restaurants. Search Google for “goedkope restaurants Mechelen” and you will find a good selection.
  • Cheap drinks? We can’t really advice on that – but you will find it. And the atmosphere at the Vismarkt during conference evenings is worth the investment.

Continue reading “Dataharvest on a shoestring”


Dataharvest will not be live-streamed

Some colleagues ask if the Dataharvest sessions can be live-streamed, so one can follow the conference from afar – or maybe later listen to some of the sessions that one missed out on. We have asked Arena director Brigitte Alfter about the possibilities:

Will the Dataharvest conference or parts of it be live-streamed in the future?

No, I am afraid not.

Why not?

We want people to be able to speak freely at the conference – and know who they are speaking to. We want to share methods with each other as journalists and coders, and obviously this is professional development and nothing secret. However, we believe that the personal contact and trust building is a crucial element of method sharing, training and indeed cross-border collaboration. And personal contact is easier if you only have to relate to those in the room, not someone unknown on the other end of a streaming camera.

But many more would benefit from the sessions if you live-streamed. Couldn’t that make you reconsider?

Of course, it is a point to make as many as possible benefit – but value of the conference is really the combination of the sessions and the networking. We arrange the conference so people can get together and start collaborating. We take big pride in all the investigations that have been hatched in the coffee breaks at Dataharvest during the years – and that wouldn’t have happened with live streaming.