The Dataharvest EIJC: When Europe meets in one room

Numbers, graphics, symbols or statistics made a lot more sense when journalists came together to tell their stories on The Dataharvest European Investigative Journalism Conference that took place in Mechelen City. This three-day event started on Friday 19 until Sunday 21 May where different kind of activities were shown. In addition, there were many workshops that journalists from over the World may want to know about data.

The most relevant networking Journalism Conference started with a brief explanation of what everyone could expect. After a few clarifications about the event, a short break was needed to form small groups to get to know each other a little more better. After the small talks, the enthusiastic journalists were expected in one of the locals to welcome central speaker Edouard Perrin. Edouard Perrin who has won the Louis Weiss Price in 2012 was present. Not only did he talk about data, but he also shared his experience as one of the journalists who covered the Lux Leaks scandal. At the end of the session every single curious person in the room was given the opportunity to ask questions.

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Freelance Journalist, Brigitte Alfter moderates the session of keynote speaker Edouard Perrin. ©Christelle Yoka Zitu

The most relevant networking Journalism Conference started with a brief explanation of what everyone could expect. After a few clarifications about the event, a short break was needed to form small groups to get to know each other a little more better. After the small talks, the enthusiastic journalists were expected in one of the locals to welcome central speaker Edouard Perrin. Edouard Perrin who has won the Louis Weiss Price in 2012 was present. Not only did he talk about data, but he also shared his experience as one of the journalists who covered the Lux Leaks scandal. At the end of the session every single curious person in the room was given the opportunity to ask questions.

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Keynote speaker Edouard Perrin about the Lux Leaks. ©Christelle Yoka Zitu

Networking

During those three days, everyone who attended the event was able to learn and practice different aspects that has touched the journalism World those last few years. If all those journalists travelled the World to come and meet other fellow participants It is because they know they need each other to produce something great. During a session about cross border journalism, Jörg Schmitt a journalist from Der Spiegel emphasizes the importance of this. “Those networks are important because as a journalist we all want to bring our stories.”

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From left to right: Alain Lallemand, Jörg Schmitt, Elisa Simantke and Harald Schumann speak about the importance of collaboration between journalists. ©Christelle Yoka Zitu

 

Meeting people is also the core of this conference. “Investigation is all about sharing and working together with other people.” This is what Harald Schumann was talking about during the session Bye bye, lone wolf cross border journalism pushed by media. For instance, the speaker focused on the fact that the most vital decision is when you decide to put your ego behind. “It makes me angry that a lot of things are not covered. As a journalist, we need to do our work. We cannot afford to waste time on this competitive game. “

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The catering of Thomas More Hogeschool Mechelen ©Christelle Yoka Zitu

Because networking is important, the present journalists were also given the time not only to explore but to talk with each other. They had several opportunities to share a couple of experiences around a lunch prepared by the catering of Thomas More Hogeschool Mechelen.

Tracking

The next day on Saturday 20 May, I attended Paul Myers session. BBC journalist, research specialist or commentator gave us all his secrets to track liars, trolls and people you may have lost for years to find them back. Once again, Paul Myers showed how important data is. While he was willing to demonstrate several track techniques, freelance journalist Luuk Sengers and Datajournalist Winny de Jong challenged participants to categorize data in an Access file. Let us keep in mind that what can be a real challenge for one person can become a relaxation moment for the other one. Strategy and thinking healthy is necessary when working with Access.

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From left to right: Luuk Sengers and Winny de Jong show how to work with data in Access. ©Christelle Yoka Zitu
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Paul Myers demonstrates an easy way to track people through social media. ©Christelle Yoka Zitu
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