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Inviting a lot of precious colleagues is a pleasure. Particularly since we all are craving for contact with peers and pals, to chat without a screen between us or to just have a cup of coffee or a good old Belgian beer.

Still, we have decided to turn Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference 2020 into a digital gathering altogether. And we are going to make the best of it: we will distribute as much of the conference as possible over three months from September to November 2020. We will offer trainings, workshops, network meetings, individual advice as well as a social gatherings online.

Welcome to Dataharvest Digital 2020!

The reason is obvious. In the efforts to limit COVID-19, two activities are considered particularly dangerous: large gatherings and interregional/international travel. Both apply to the in-person meeting at Dataharvest, a meeting we all were looking forward to, but which is highly insecure.

The path forward is trying out new formats, that will allow us to offer the professional knowledge-sharing and training as well as some of the networking that happens at the real-life conferences. Over the years, the feedback from participants has given us great inspiration, though two points have given recurring criticism – the quality of the conference coffee and the fact that we had too many parallel sessions which made it difficult to choose. This year, we will distribute the sessions over three months for everybody to choose a good moment, and the coffee quality is all up to you yourself.

We have also decided that the digital conference will not be offered free of charge. Our speakers and trainers are top journalists and lecturers donating their time to the community; digital meeting spaces cost money and organising a series of high quality presentations and trainings takes lots of time and work. You can join in for one, two or three months and a discount price for students and freelancers. Furthermore, we have been able to obtain participation grants for colleagues from Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Read more on fees

When the coronavirus restrictions were introduced, many had already registered for Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference in Mechelen. Registered participants can to get a voucher for the value of their ticket to use for the 2021 conference, get a full refund or make a full or partial donation to run the conference 2020 and prepare the conference 2021 (if you registered, further instructions will be in your mailbox later today).

We are grateful to all our speakers and trainers donating their time for the online programme. And we are grateful to all our funders for allowing us to adjust to the coronavirus situation.

Now we are looking forward to meet good colleagues for the Dataharvest Digital 2020 from September to November! Ticket sales begin this week, the preliminary program will be published August 10th at the latest.

Let’s make the very best of this and see if we can use this extraordinary situation to develop new ways of networking for journalists – this just may be the moment for developing something new and useful for the future!

Until soon!

The Arena conference team