Meet the software developer behind Football Leaks

Stephan Heffner

Stephan Heffner (48) is a software developer at the german news magazine Der Spiegel. This year Heffner is attending the Dataharvast conference for the first time to learn more about the journalistic side of the data he works with every day.

 

What is your job at Der Spiegel?

At Der Spiegel I develop software that focuses on data forensics and security most of the time. I handle big data sets every day which get interpreted by journalist so they can find the story behind the numbers. I was active on Football Leaks and several other big stories that appeared in the past. I also make a lot of tools for our journalists at Der Spiegel.

How long have you worked at Der Spiegel?

About 13 years, I started back in 2004 as an employee of Der Spiegel. Previous to that I was already working for them as an external consultant. That is how I got in touch with Der Spiegel and ultimately started working for them.

“It is important for me, not being a journalist, to be able to understand the journalist’s point of view”

Is it the first time you’re attending the conference?

Yes, I have heard about it several times but I never had the time or the option to attend the previous years. But many of us from der Spiegel have been attending in the past. I took a look at this year’s programme and decided that it does make a lot of sense for me to come here. So I can get in contact with other people in the business and to acquire some knowledge in specialised areas at the keynotes. It is also important for me, not being a journalist, to be able to understand the journalist’s point of view on some areas. That’s why it is a good thing to come to these conferences, to get this kind of insight.

Did you learn anything new?

Yes, there are a lot of keynotes about topics that are new to me and the ones about subjects I’m familiar with do go deeper into details that I was not aware of. But getting in contact with other people in the business is just very helpful.

What was your favourite session?

The session about data security was my favourite because they did a really good job with the presentation.

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