2021 Shortlist


Country/area: Argentina

Organisation: Data Journalism course (Social Sciences Department – National University of Avellaneda) -UNDAV-

Organisation size: Small

Datos UNDAV is the Data Journalism chair of the National University of Avellaneda -UNDAV- (Argentina), which functions as a space for teaching, learning, laboratory for experimentation and practice of data journalism for students.

Students’ data journalism articles are at datosundav.com.ar (Link to automatic translation into English of the full site: http://bit.ly/3rdWZNw)

Since 2015, the UNDAV’s Bachelor of Journalism includes within its study plan the subject Data Journalism. In this way, UNDAV became a pioneer in Latin America in the teaching of data journalism in an undergraduate degree and with a specific subject.

The main goal of Datos UNDAV is to provide conceptual frameworks and practical tools that allow thinking about and exercising data journalism.

Throughout the semester, students get the necessary skills for the production of journalistic pieces created from large databases and the creation of  interactive visualizations using digital tools available on the web. They will have the skills required to join the data journalism team of any professional newsroom.

The subject includes theoretical content and the use of digital tools for searching, processing and curating data, as well as for publishing and visualizing information. In addition, cases of good practices in data journalism in national media, the region and the rest of the world are studied. Also, it proposes that students know the process of requesting access to public information both national and local level.

I am Damián Profeta (@damianprofeta) and the subject is in my charge. I have been practicing journalism for 15 years and I have been teaching at the university level for 10 years. In 2015 I was summoned to create the subject Data Journalism. Since then, 12 cohorts of students had the oportunity of learning the basics of data journalism and putting it into practice in a classroom-workshop-newsroom modality.

The Datos UNDAV experience was presented in the 8th. International Forum of Digital Journalism at the National University of Rosario (UNR) at the end of 2015: http://bit.ly/3rk867B

Likewise, the experience was reviewed in an article in the first digital book of the Meeting of Chairs of Investigative Journalism in Argentina “In search of journalism that inquires into power.” 2016: http://bit.ly/2NW2bqY

Furthermore, the Datos UNDAV proposal was selected in the first order of merit as a research project to analyze and describe the practice of data journalism in Latin America. The work was a combination of research and journalistic practice with the students and was funded by the National University of Avellaneda – Call “PIPP 2018” carried out among 2019 y 2020: http://bit.ly/2NZj04h

In 2019, the experience of the UNDAV in teaching data journalism as a unique case in public universities in Argentina with a specific subject in a university journalism career was highlighted in the investigation of the National University of Lomas de Zamora ( UNLZ) “Public Universities that teach data journalism in Argentina: which ones, how and why”. Abstract in english: https://bit.ly/3axr6sz

In 2019, also, I defended my master’s thesis on teaching data journalism. It was evaluated as Outstanding by the San Andrés University (UdeSA).

Description of portfolio:

DatosUNDAV.com.ar includes 24 articles on data journalism created in 2020 from public databases in Argentina on issues of gender, The use of public funds, human trafficking, employment, economy, health, education, housing, aboriginal peoples and others. They have their corresponding data analysis with a journalistic perspective, relevant sources consulted, stories with human value and data visualizations.

The articles based in databases created by Datos UNDAV 2020 students have journalistically relevant findings for Argentina, such as:

-Almost 3 out of every ten patients who need a transplant die before they can be included on a waiting list.

-In 2020, public financial aid for children of femicide victims was doubled.

-For the first time in history, more women than men preside over the committees of the National Senate.

-Only one out of every one hundred requests to carry arms is made by a woman.

-Most people with disabilities do not process their disability certificate due to ignorance of how to do the process and its advantages.

It also includes about 30 in-depth interviews with data journalists from Latin America. The interviews were conducted by students of the subject and are part of a research funded by the university to analyze and characterize data journalism in the region. Journalists from La Nación Data y Chequeado, from Argentina; as well as, from Ojo Público, from Peru; El Tiempo and Cuestión Pública, from Colombia, Sudestada, from Uruguay; Post Data Club, from Cuba; Serendipia, from Mexico, among many other data journalists from media across the region share their experiences, work, visions and perspectives on this practice, in invaluable material for students and anyone interested in data journalism in Latin America.

The Data Journalism subject  (Datos UNDAV) became over time one of the most valued by students. The result of this positive assessment is the growth in enrollment semester by semester and a video in which some students shared their appreciation of the subject to promote it in the rest of the students of the career: https://youtu.be/5uPm_1l1F4w (only in Spanish).

Despite having a national law on access to public information and some laws at the provincial level, in 2020, due to the pandemic, the legal deadlines for the delivery of information to citizens (and students, in this case) were suspended and that was an added difficulty.

Likewise, despite the existence of legal frameworks, a gap persists between the laws and their practice: the information is usually provided incomplete, with arbitrary omissions and in closed formats that make it difficult to handle, analyze and process.

Although they are difficulties, all the more in the case of students, they also represent challenges that they undertake with enthusiasm.

Note: each work has the signature of its respective authors, students of Digital Journalism from the National University of Avellaneda. I am the professor and researcher in charge of the subject and coordinating the work of the students and the correction, editing and qualification of the articles.

Note 2: It was impossible for me to upload the photo in the form, so I link it here: https://datosundav.com.ar/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/periodismo-de-datos-undav.jpg

Project links: