Small Newsrooms, Big Prizes

An inspiring pair of Data Journalism Award winners.

Data journalism is a great equalizer. This modern method of investigation can be leveraged by smaller organizations to deliver stories that no so long ago, would have been too expensive and out of reach.

At this year’s Data Journalism Awards at the Global Editors Network (GEN) summit in Vienna, the winners of “Small Newsrooms” prizes were websites in Peru and Spain. Convoca, based in Lima, won for News Data App of the Year, while Spain’s Fundación Civio claimed the Investigation of the Year prize.

In the aftermath of these wins, Sabine Louët, editor of the journal EuroScientist, chatted with the principal authors of those “Small Newsrooms” projects. Convoca’s project “Unpunished Excesses,” about how oil and mining has impacted the lives of residents in the Peruvian Highlands and Amazon regions, parsed more than 3,000 documents:

The Convoca findings were published in La Republica, the second most important newspaper in Peru… The documentary forced the authorities to be more transparent and to break the silence around these issues. Website director Milagros Salazar’s work has led other investigative teams to pursue this issue.

Meanwhile, Civio Foundation managing editor Eva Belmonte had a great quote, in connection with her winning project “Medicamentalia,” about the large discrepancies between prices for the same medicine in different countries:

“The thing with data journalism is you can’t say, ‘No, what you are saying is not true’,” says Belmonte. She also explains the value of adhering to a strict methodology to ascertain the credibility of investigative work, noting: “and the most important, you publish that methodology.”

Previously on FishbowlNY:
News Deeply Founder Joins Global Editors Network Board
Panama Papers Journalist Recalls Scandal’s Muted Beginning

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@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.