Data Journalism Awards 2018 winners

The Jury, presided over by Paul Steiger, selected 13 winners (and one honorable mention) out of the 86 finalists for this year’s Data Journalism Awards competition.

Here is the entire list of winners for this year. Feedback for each category comes on behalf of the whole Data Journalism Awards 2018 Jury


Data visualisation of the year

Life in the camps, Reuters, UK
Simon Scarr and Weiyi Cai of Thomson Reuters produced a starkly powerful graphic combining video, still photography, satellite imagery, mapping, and text that together convey the grotesque living conditions in Rohingya refugee camps. The maps use colored dots to show hundreds of makeshift toilets and water wells sited far too close together for safe sanitation. Photographers aided by handheld GPS devices went directly to places identified by overhead and satellite imagery to produce up-close images of people trapped in these desperate conditions. An official of Doctors Without Borders called the package a “magnificent example of how mapping can and should be used.”


The Startup Lisboa award for investigation of the year

Easy Money, The Globe and Mail, Canada
The Globe and Mail dug into and exposed the loopholes that allowed white-collar criminals to repeatedly escape serious punishment, ignore fines — and continue committing much the same crimes for years. By pulling together data from across Canada’s provinces and over decades, the paper showed the breadth and depth of a problem and prompted government action to correct it. 


News data app of the year

The Atlas Of Redistricting, FiveThirtyEight, US
The wonky art of drawing U.S. Congressional boundaries can make or break political careers and shape the direction of national lawmaking for a decade. This hands-on app, the centerpiece of FiveThirtyEight’s Gerrymandering Project, lets users explore in depth at least seven different remapping goals, from highly partisan favoring one side or the other to maximizing majority-minority districts to creation of districts as compact as possible. The result makes clear the stakes in the looming battles over how new maps will be drawn from 2020 Census data. 


The SEMrush award for data journalism website of the year

#SaferRoadsPH, Rappler, Philippines
For the data journalism website of the year award, the judges were looking for innovation, impact and sheer quality of work. Rappler’s data journalism is especially impressing considering the difficult conditions reporters operate under in the Philippines. SaferRoads applied a wide-reaching civic engagement campaign both on the ground and online with a huge impact. 



The Chartbeat award for the best use of data in a breaking news story, within first 36 hours

The search operation of the submarine Ara San Juan, La Nacion, Argentina
What “La Nacion” did with its live coverage of the search for a missing submarine is an artifact of future journalism. Its usage of marine-traffic data in a breaking news context was a great idea that signals a new wave of journalism based on satellite imagery, sensors, and other new types of direct observation.  


Open Data

Follow the Money, Postmedia, Canada
Postmedia performed a valuable public service by building Canada’s first comprehensive national database of political donations — and, rather than keep it as an in-house resource, opened it up to the public, academics, and other journalists to power better analyses and understanding of the role of money in Canadian politics. 


Best individual portfolio

Patrick Stotz, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Germany
Patrick Stotz matches strong technical software engineering ability with investigative flair. His excellent portfolio demonstrates the effective use of data visualization for enhancing stories, analytical depth with a variety of datasets, as well as the ability to write software to support large-scale newsroom investigations. 

The jury also awarded an Honorable Mention in this category for Yudivian Almeida,, Cuba
Mr. Almeida and his colleagues at managed to turn the scarcity of Cuban data on its head and use it to their advantage. Their work is an impressive example of how data sets generated beyond the country’s borders can be used to expose national issues. This is great cross-border data journalism. 



Best large data journalism team

Caixin VisLab, China
In a crowded field of excellent work, Caixin VizLab stands out because of its combination of technical excellence, investigative depth, and unique visual aesthetic. The newsroom produces data stories that feel aesthetically fresh — utilizing much of the same front-end technology as the rest of the industry, but bringing a totally unique palette and design aesthetic to the table.  



 Best small data journalism team

We have joint winners: InfoTimes from Egypt and Monitor de Victimas from Venezuela.

InfoTimes, Egypt
In a difficult environment, this small team of data enthusiasts — journalists, information designers and programmers — have created one of the best global examples of small-scale data journalism in the world. The judges were impressed by the consistent quality of the work, which is often open source and uses public tools to create an invaluable resource.


Monitor de Victimas from, Venezuela
The project to memorialise the disappeared in Caracas, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, showed impressive use of open data and on-the-ground reporting. The team had to extract information from reluctant authorities to document over 1,100 deaths in the city and make it available to their readers. 


The JSK Fellowships award for innovation in data journalism

Hidden Spy Planes, BuzzFeed News, US
Hidden Spy Planes by Peter Aldhous, Christian Stork, and Karla Zabludovsky of BuzzFeed News shows how new technologies can help journalists find the story hidden within data. Not only did it apply novel technology to create compelling journalism — the training of a machine learning model to discover patterns in a huge data set — it presented the result in stunning relief which immediately captivates, informs, and raises deep questions about the activities of government and private entities. But even more than this, the project is perhaps the most compelling, visceral example that shows the general public the power of machine learning and how its ability to find patterns will increasingly transform our relationships in society, the private sector, and with government. 


The Twitter award for student and young data journalist of the year

Marie-Louise Timcke, Berliner Morgenpost, Germany
Marie-Louise stands out not only for her professional work and technical skills, but also for her mindset. Her attitude towards learning and sharing what she knows with the community makes her a unique and promising young data journalist to watch and follow.


The Microsoft award for public choice

Monitor da Violencia, G1 (Globo), Brazil
Almost 5,500 people voted for the Microsoft award for public choice. The winner in this category is G1(Globo) in Brazil for their project “Monitor da violence”. G1 staff reporters in Brazil documented violent deaths over the course of one week. These stories have been cleared and written by more than 230 journalists throughout the country. The project aims at shedding a light on the victims, and tries to get to the root of this spread of violence.

Additionally, the jury would like to recognize with Citation for Excellence three projects we believed were especially important and praiseworthy:

ExtraPol is an innovative application of augmented reality in the service of journalism. The app, launched during the French presidental elections last year, turned everyday campaign posters into live data visualizations designed to inform voters about each candidate.
The Stanford Open Policing Project is a first-ever attempt to compile a single national database of stop and search data collected from police departments around the country. The database already contains 130 million records from 31 state police agencies, and the project’s long-term impact could be enormous.
The New York Times Opinion section created some of the most compelling, impactful data visualizations this year, including Trump’s Lies by Stuart Thompson and David Leonhardt. Op/Ed is traditionally dominated by text and illustrations, not graphics and visualization. The jury felt it important to call out The Times’ work in hopes others will follow its lead. 


The competition, organised by the Global Editors Network, with support from the Google News Initiative, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Microsoft, and in partnership with Chartbeat, received 630 submissions of the highest standards from 58 countries.

Now in its seventh year, the Data Journalism Awards was launched in 2012. In the first edition, it received close to 200 projects. Over the years it has grown to become the first international awards recognising outstanding work in the field of data journalism, receiving the highest amount of submissions in the history of the competition in 2018.