Colombian and Brazilian digital media sites win at 2017 Data Journalism Awards

A team in Colombia that works to document the decades-long armed conflict in that country, and an organization revealing legal actions used to stop the spread of public information in Brazil, are among the winners of the 2017 Data Journalism Awards.

The jury recognized Colombian site Rutas del Conflicto as the data journalism website of the year. Crtl+x from the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism, also known as Abraji, received the small newsroom award.

The awards, started in 2012 to recognize the best data journalism projects around the world, were announced at the 7th annual GEN Summit in Vienna, Austria on June 22. The competition has support from Google News Lab and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and counts on Chartbeat as a partner. Each of the 12 winners will receive US $1,801.

Rutas del Conflicto, an online platform for investigation and data collection, was created by journalist and systems engineer Óscar Parra to fill the void of information about Colombia’s armed conflict. The project is a collaboration between Parra, journalism professionals and students at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá.

“Rutas del Conflicto brings together unique content – building with great effort, from scratch, a database that clarifies with narratives, visualizations, maps and in-depth stories the massacres from the Colombian armed conflicts since 1982,” the awards jury said. “It makes this web site not only a real public service for readers and journalists but also an excellent way to enlighten the public and honor the memory of those victims.”

Ctrl+X was created during the 2014 election season to monitor lawsuits demanding the removal of content from the internet. The project uses automated data collection and a team of journalists to find cases in which legal proceedings are being used to remove content published by journalists and other content producers. Crtl+X was also on the 2017 DJA shortlist for data journalism site of the year.

“The data journalists scraped thousands and catalogued about 2,500 lawsuits filed by Brazilian politicians who were trying to remove information from the public, and made user-friendly interactives with very neat design and customisable features,” the awards jury noted. “It has not only provided insightful data on freedom of expression, but also made their data available for other media to report on the transparency issue, especially during the 2016 election period where such information would be crucial for the people but not publicly and easily accessible otherwise.”

Eight Latin American projects were selected for the awards shortlist, which was announced in May. That list was narrowed down from a pool of 573 projects submitted from 51 countries.

Also on this year’s shortlist were:

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.