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 media@journalismarena.eu.

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 media@journalismarena.eu before Friday 15 at 9am!

 

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 Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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 Read more

At Dataharvest 2020 there will be 3 full tracks of data skills training – from the basics to the super nerdy. One of the trainers is Adriana Homolova, Slovak living in the Netherlands and working freelance and for the OCCRP. Here is what she told us:

Read more

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. Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Would you like to pitch a session at the Dataharvest conference – but hesitate, because you don’t really know what happens to it? Here is what constitutes a good pitch, and how we decide what to put on the program.

First of all, Dataharvest is all about sharing – of experiences, methods, successes and failures. Do you know software, that others can benefit from? Have you used innovative methods in your investigations? Did you make a mistake that others could avoid? Tell us about it!

Other keywords for a good pitch are: European – crossborder – collaboration – data – digital. Think about the format – is your idea fit for a presentation, a workshop, a panel debate or maybe a networking session?

You send your pitch by using this form. Keep it short – but do remember to include enough background for outsiders to understand your idea. Deadline for pitches is February 1!

So what happens next?

We are already far into planning the program, but have a constant eye on new ideas coming in. We will be in touch with you as soon as we can – maybe to say ‘yes and thank you’ to your idea as it is, maybe to discuss how to combine it with a similar idea from another country. And of course there are ideas we must decline – maybe because they are not within the conference scope, maybe because there simply is a limit to the number of sessions at the conference.

We plan the conference program track by track. For each we collect all the ideas that we have gathered and received. That may be a list of 30 ideas, but we may only have 12 time slots for the track. Then the discussion begins on how to balance sessions on concrete stories with session on collaboration methods, experiences from East and West, big projects with smaller etcetera. We also have an eye on speakers to make sure that a multitude of countries are represented, that we have a reasonable gender balance etc.

Who makes the selection? Many good people help us, so do the investigative networks in Europe. Data journalism trainers from many different countries have planned 3 full tracks of data skills. But the final responsibility is on the shoulders of Brigitte Alfter and Trine Smistrup – complaints should go to us!

Do I get invited if my pitch is accepted? Dataharvest is a low-budget conference, so we will ask if your newsroom will pay for your travel and hotel. We can waive the conference fee, and we do have a small travel budget for speakers that need it. But register, if you want to be sure to participate – there are only 500 conference tickets!