Would you like to participate in Dataharvest – but you don’t really have the money? If you are from Eastern Europe or Russia, you may be in luck: We have a number of participation grants to give out, thanks to the Norwegian foundation Frit Ord (Free Words)!

We will distribute the grants 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

Where did the idea for a great cross-border investigation come from? How did the reporters accomplish their results? Which challenges did they meet on the way? In sessions under the label “The making of…”, Dataharvest will over the coming months invite you to meet the reporters behind a story and hear them present a cross-section of the work from idea to publication.

These sessions will hopefully inspire you for your own work – and give you a chance to follow the developments of investigations across Europe, even if we are all tied down by our keyboards for a few more months.

The first session is next week! On Wednesday March 22, Maxime Vaudano, Jérémie Baruch and Maxime Ferrer from Le Monde will share how they got and analysed the data for OpenLux, an investigation conducted by Le Monde along with ten media partners about the tax haven in the heart of Europe: Luxembourg.

Following “The making of…” sessions will be on April 14 at 2 pm, May 5 at 10 am, June 16 at 2 pm, September 22 at 10 am, October 13 at 2 pm, November 24 at 10 am, and December 9 at 2 pm.

The sessions will be free of charge, and you register for them here.

Do you know of a great investigation that should be highlighted in a session? Please get in touch with us!

Maxime Vaudano

Jérémie Baruch

Our series of Dataharvest Pop-Ups opens with the OpenLux investigation that put pressure on Luxembourg, a tax haven in the heart of Europe.

The tiny state of Luxembourg is the world’s second-biggest destination for foreign capital, thanks to the opacity of its financial systems. In 2018, the country created a database that would reveal the ultimate beneficial owners of all the companies registered therein. However, the database is not searchable by the owners’ names, which made it much harder to determine beneficial owners. 

But a team from the French newspaper Le Monde managed to scrape the registry’s website and obtain 3.3 million documents, covering hundreds of thousands of companies based in Luxembourg. With a help of their international media partners, Le Monde’s team dug deeper into the people who are benefiting from the companies and explored weaknesses in anti-money laundering frameworks in Luxembourg and the EU.

Maxime Vaudano, Jérémie Baruch and Maxime Ferrer from Le Monde will share with us the making of Open Lux, explain to us how they’ve managed to analyse the documents and identify people of interest in the datasets and cross-check them.

Join us for the first Dataharvest Pop-Up session on March 24, 10.00 CET. Register here.

Register for the main program of Dataharvest 2021 here: https://dataharvest.eu/register/


We are very happy that the European Press Prize has decided to partner with Arena for Journalism in Europe and the Dataharvest Conference when they announce the winners of the 2020 awards. This will constitute the main part of the last day of Dataharvest – Thursday June 3.

The European Press Prize gives out 4 prizes:

  1. The Investigative Reporting Award
  2. The Distinguished Reporting Award
  3. The Opinion Award
  4. The Innovation Award 

In some years, the jury also decides to give out a “Special Award” for particular excellence in editing or any other discipline, including reporting, feature writing and advocacy.

The winners will be announced in the first session of the day and in the following hours will tell, how the investigations or stories were made.

Dataharvest is not just a productive journalistic get-together. It is now also the subject for academic studies, done by German Annett Heft from Freie Universität in Berlin and published in the latest edition of the journal Journalism Studies. Her aim was to see how and why journalistic collaboration sprang up from the ground outside of the big networks – and did so by asking Dataharvest participants and Hostwriter members.

Heft’s study asks why journalists choose to collaborate, how they do it and which advantages and challenges they see. She concludes that “bottom-up collaborations contribute to a normalization of the practice through small-scale, less institutionalized, and less binding forms that enable a gradual transition towards a new mindset in the broader field”, and says about Dataharvest and Hostwriter: The “pioneering platforms foster a developing network of open-minded and multicultural practitioners.”

Read the full report here

We have to face it, though with a heavy heart: There is no responsible way to have a European gathering in May 2021. The vaccines will not be fully rolled out yet, and travel may still be restricted. So we have taken the difficult decision to take Dataharvest 2021 online.

What is the main characteristics of Dataharvest? For us, the keywords are networking, sharing of experiences, inspiration, learning from each other. All that is possible online. Of course, another very important characteristic is “coming together”. That, alas, will have to wait util 2022 (but what a conference we will have then!).

Until then, we hope that you will join us online for presentations of new investigations, new data skills training and for a 3-week online conference in late May-early June. Let’s keep networking and collaborating around new investigations to present and discuss, once we can meet again.

Do you have ideas for the online conference? Things you need to learn, people you would like to hear? Tell us about it!

Arena and Dataharvest will have a series of online meetings and training opportunities from March to June. The detailed program will be ready around March 1 – please follow the website, our Twitter account and the Dataharvest Facebook Group to stay informed!

Happy New Year – more Dataharvest is coming your way! And this marks a new start for Arena for Journalism in Europe!

Are you going to set up a new team for a cross-border investigation? Reality probably is, that you don’t have a big newsroom or big money behind you – but you know that you need to agree on digital security procedures and use safe tools. How do you do it, which software do you choose? On Tuesday January 12 at 10 am, get advice and tools from Arena’s IT manager Benedikt Hebeisen – for free!

The session is going to give you a toolbox. We’ll discuss which tools you can use for your daily work, how you can share your results and investigations with your colleagues, and which tools you can use for communication – of course with a focus on privacy and security.

The link to join the session will be published in the Dataharvest Facebook Group and on Twitter one hour before the session.

This session was postponed in November. Now instead, it marks the beginning of a new initiative from Arena for Journalism in Europe: We will regularly offer pop-up sessions where you can learn tools and techniques for your journalism and collaborations. More online activities will follow to supplement the Dataharvest conference. Join the Dataharvest Facebook Group or follow us on Twitter to stay updated!

After a conference, we send out evaluation forms (as does everybody else after a conference). We do not do it to fish for your praise or because we think you love questionnaires. We do it because your opinion matters to us, and it is not just a marketing phrase.

When you fill out the evaluation sheet and give us your ideas, you show that you care about Dataharvest and the investigative community. Every active participant makes it easier for us to write convincing applications to the funders that make the conference possible.

We know that some of the evaluation sheets have ended up in spam folders and may have been deleted. If you want to share your thoughts with us, please find the evaluation sheet here.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

It’s over! Next week there is no Dataharvest Digital. Last night the final session said goodbye and see you – somewhere, somehow – in 2021!

It is almost sad for us at Arena – but at the same time we are happy and proud. We have had what Arena chairman Nils Hanson called “probably the longest investigative journalism conference ever”. 13 weeks of lectures, panels, presentations, demonstrations – a total of 149 sessions. And as opposed to a ‘normal’ Dataharvest conference, none of them were parallel – those who wanted to, could follow every single session of the conference.

The final number of participants was 593 – a record number, though we are hesitant to compare the online conference with the physical one. They were of 55 nationalities and lived in 53 different countries. And in spite of time zone differences we had participants from China and Kyrgyzstan as well as from the US and Latin America.

186 speakers volunteered their time to speak and discuss – thank you very much for that! Without that contribution, there would be no conference!

So what is ahead in 2021? We cannot say but will decide in January whether it is safe to have a physical conference in Mechelen or if we will be online again in 2021. In any case, we have learned a lot about meeting online, so we promise that there will be pop-up meetings and presentations online throughout the year 2021.

Online or IRL, we hope to present the best investigations, new and old data tools, tips and tricks to make your investigations better and your data skills more refined. Do you have ideas for the conference? Do you know a tool that you would like to present for others? Are there super-interesting investigations in your country that should be known to a wider public? Write your ideas in our call for proposals, and we will get back to you!

This year’s Dataharvest included a lot of data skills training. Our fantastic trainers have lifted the veil on spreadsheets analysis, cleaning data, explored caveats in visualizing data. We have asked basic questions – what is data, what does it look like and how to even start a data research? However, we have also challenged our participants with some programming – there was Python, R, SQL, regex and Neo4j. We have introduced some robust software for investigations such as Aleph and QGIS, but also simple tools to scrape websites or read PDFs. We have shown how to think as a data scientist, statistician, and open source researcher. But what now?

It’s time to find a project. Cementing the skills by putting them into practice. For the first time ever, Dataharvest offers you, on top of the skills training, also a possibility to practice these skills. In a so-called Data Sprint our participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with others and create their own stories.

Our participants will be working with the recently released European COVID-19 spending data by OCCRP in a cross-border teams of 3 to 4. There are many potential stories in those data – for many different countries and media. There are also quite some challenges in cleaning them!

We have 12 spots in this course! Do you want to secure one and make your own story together with others and under guidance of experienced data trainers? Write to adriana@journalismarena.eu and make space in your calendar as described here

If you register for one of the limited spaces on this mini-project, you commit to downloading and looking at the data before the first session, and so to joining that session with some ideas of what you would like to do with the data.

If more than 12 register for the data sprint, the participants will be selected to give the best representation of gender, countries and experience. Participants that have regularly attended the data sessions will get a priority. The participants will be informed about the selection on Friday 20th.