July 2, 2019
On June 16th in Nanjing, USCET and its partners held an awards ceremony to recognize the winners of the fourth data journalism competition. It was also an opportunity to gather the leaders and innovators of the industry to network and discuss the future of the field in China.
The competition was launched on March 18 in partnership with DataWorks and Nanjing University’s School of Journalism and Communication. The competition aimed to promote awareness of data journalism and provide new tools to improve the quality of reporting for next generation leaders in Chinese media. “USCET has made significant contributions to the development of data journalism field in China,” commented Huang Zhimin, CEO and founder of DataWorks, China’s leading data visualization firm.
With a theme of “Understanding the World in Data,” the competition revolved around helping next-generation journalists explore the value of data, its use in telling stories valued by diverse communities, and understanding the power of telling compelling stories through visualization. A record count of 1436 journalism students alongside media professionals from all around China participated in the competition, hailing from more than 60 universities and 10 media organizations, including Communication University of China, Fudan University, SCAD Hong Kong, Wuhan University and Sichuan Daily. This was dramatic increase from USCET’s first data journalism competition in 2015, with 35 times more participants.
Nineteen leading scholars and practitioners from top universities and leading media agencies in China served as judges of the competition. Professor Yuen-Ying Chan, Founding Director of the University of Hong Kong’s Center for Journalism and Media Studies, served as the chair of the judges. The judges’ panel reviewed over 600 submissions and awarded 26 data journalism projects. ThePaper.cn, one of the most prominent digital journalism outlets in China, featured each winner’s submission on their website, lending access to tens of thousands of readers across China.
The team awarded with the “Best Data Journalism Award” dealt with child trafficking in China. For their submission, they leveraged data to visualize the current status of abducted children in China by gender, urban distribution and age, aiming to tell the story of these “stolen children” and raise awareness. The “Best Data Usage Award” went to a team focused on “Women’s Role in Chinese and Japanese Animation Films using the Bechdel Test.” The Bechdel test is a measure of the representation of women in motion pictures and has often been used as an indicator for the active presence of women in films. The winning team hopes to discuss the role of women in today’s cinema and to call attention to gender inequality on screens across the world. The winning team of the “Best Big Screen Interaction Design” award grappled with fire disasters in China during the past decade, creating visuals depicting the time and frequency of these fires from 2008 to 2017. This team hopes to remind the public about the danger of uncontrolled fire and prevent future catastrophes.
The awards ceremony featured keynote speakers from academia and industry alike, covering topics ranging from business models in data journalism to the challenges of talent training, along with how best to apply data visualization innovation to the media.
Many of the awarded students were direct recipients of USCET trainings throughout the years, or learned from teachers trained by USCET. USCET partners emphasized the large percentage of the quality content resulting from USCET’s efforts in promoting the growth of data journalism in China. China’s next generation journalists and media practitioners are certainly applying lessons from the “Advancing Data Journalism in China” program to craft investigative stories with lasting social impact.
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