We are working hard on the program for Dataharvest – The European Investigative Journalism Conference 2020!

We have received dozens of interesting pitches from you, thank you! We will publish most of the conference program in the summer, but leave slots open for last minute ideas and new investigations. Stay tuned!

Here is what is on the table for the 2020 conference:

A full pre-conference day with masterclasses and Hackday Thursday November 5

Focus 2020: ”Follow the pipeline: This year’s focus topic is climate and energy – and how to investigate the field. The topic is ‘hot’, since by late 2020, all signatory countries to the Kyoto treaty will have to agree on the plan for 2021 and onwards.

We will bring together journalists who cover fraud in emission certificates, journalists who cover the lobbying around energy policies, providers of relevant data collections, journalists who have followed energy subsidies and the connected political struggles, lobby efforts and all. We also have our eyes on transport policies or the VAT fraud in day-to-day electricity trading and how these activities go cross borders.

The ”Follow the pipeline” track on climate and energy will focus on the investigative, in-depth, cross-border and data aspects of reporting this field. Do send ideas from your part of Europe in our direction.

Cross-border and other collaborative journalism: Cross-border collaborations are at the centre of our focus, of course. In this track we bring in the most interesting recent investigations. We focus on strength of cross-border collaboration in terms of the power of publication in multiple countries and the strenght of fact-checking and surmounting bias through collaboration. Of course we also offer an introduction to the cross-border collaborative method. And finally we’ll try to follow up on recent developments, where collaboration also is used between journalists and other groups, not least collaboration between journalists and academics.

Investigative methods: Investigative journalism is everything from selecting the right story idea over good interview technique, data journalism, strong analytical skills to good presentation, good fact checking and good evaluation. In this track we will focus on interesting examples as well as methods to learn from.

Data journalism: Data journalism is increasingly integrated in investigations and news production. In investigations, data journalism is integrated with other research and publication methods, in news production it shapes the basis for interactivity with our audiences and for new ways of storytelling. We’ll not only bring in some of the most exciting new examples for your inspiration, but also have sessions on how to get good story ideas out of data sets or how to ask data questions.

Data hands-on training & cafés: Three parallel strands of hands-on data training: from the basics to the super-nerdy. Data gathering such as scraping, database analysis for journalism, programming for journalists provided by practitioners and practice oriented trainers.

Also there will be room for one-to-one advice by experts, if you are stuck with a data journalism problem in your research – just bring your computer to the data hands-on café, sit down with one of the trainers/volunteers and see how your problem can be solved.

Data buffet: Need data in your work on the Monday after the conference? Attend some of the data buffet sessions. Here data providers such as the European Commission, the EU’s agencies or other groups present the datasets they hold, including meta data such as data structure, granulation, update and legal basis. Also the data gathered and prepared during the Dataharvest Hack Day will be presented under this heading.

Freedom of Information and whistleblowers: Freedom of information requests are a strong tool for journalists. In Europe, some countries have more robust traditions of transparency in public authorities than others, yet tactical and legal considerations are of common interest. An obvious way to obtain good information in shape of documents or data, freedom of information journalists develop excellent methods to get such information. Meet some of the most interesting colleagues and cases. And of course you can get an introduction, too, if this method is new to you.

Security & surveillance: As digital surveillance becomes more an more omnipresent, digital security and digital self defence become more and more important for journalists. Sessions will include threat assessment as well as possible solutions for your digital security.

The power of algorithms: Algorithms and automated decisions and predictions in our societies are more and more prevalent. But journalism and academic research in the field is also advancing swiftly. In collaboration with German NGO Algorithmwatch, some of the most recent findings will be presented – as well as methods on how to investigate this new and opaque field.

Editors’ track: Investigative and cross-border journalism is extremely powerful but also needs particular attention in the newsroom. Meet senior editors in the field who share their experience from story selection to fact checking and integration with the rest of the newsroom.

Entrepreneurial: You need to fund your investigation – that’s the first step. But among investigative and data journalists, plenty of longer term journalism and new media projects are developed, often by expert journalists themselves. This track deals with the question of how to fundraise and how funders and journalists can find the right donor-funder match, it provides examples of business models related to data, cross-border and investigative journalism as well as experts with insights in the field, who can help finding the right professional advice.

Networking…not least: Throughout, of course, there will be plenty of opportunities for networking. When relevant, presentations will be followed by a networking round table, where journalists who were not on the panel can chip in with their work and new networks and teams hopefully be shaped. The city of Mechelen, again, kindly invites us for a networking reception in the beautiful old town hall.

And the 2020 conference is also number 10 – that calls for celebration!