Country/area: Indonesia

Organisation: Katadata

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

Dear Juries of the 2021 Sigma Awards

The digital era has brought about major changes in the communication process and information dissemination around the world. There is much information, which anyone can create, and it spread massively and widely in line with the strengthening role of technology companies and social media.

However, this condition also causes a lot of disinformation and false information (hoax) in society. This post-truth era is a real challenge for journalists and the media industry to convey information based on data and facts and uphold journalism standards.

In Indonesia, the presence of digital news media also adds to the flood of information in society. The media are competing to get “clicks” and be the fastest in delivering information by sometimes ignoring the check and confirmation process and neglecting the depth of data and facts. The media also often amplifies the statements of interested parties, but sometimes it contradicts the reality.

As the name implies, “kata” (mean word) and “data,” Katadata is committed to presenting information to the public based on facts and data. Since our establishment in 2012, we have built a newsroom that quotes our sources’ statements and verifies their statements with data. We have formed a research and data team to strengthen our editors’ work so that the public can get comprehensive information from various sides.

Misinformation and hoaxes are also increasingly prevalent during the current pandemic due to limited direct interaction and increased access to digital media. This condition will undoubtedly complicate the handling of the pandemic, including vaccinations and economic recovery.

For this reason, Katadata.co.id, through the Katadata News Lab, has created many data-based news contents related to the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia. The goal is to provide clear and complete information based on coverage and interviews, research, and data analysis to the public.

Katadata’s founders are journalists who have experience in various major news media in Indonesia, such as Metta Dharmasaputra. He has a career as a journalist for more than 20 years at Bisnis Indonesia and Majalah Tempo and wrote books on investigative coverage and journalism data concerning tax cases and bank closures in Indonesia. We also have Yura Syahrul, the Chief Editor of Katadata, who has been a journalist for 20 years in Tempo Group and Harian Kontan.

Katadata editorial staff are also experienced journalists from various major news media in Indonesia. In 2018, Katadata formed the Katadata News Lab. It accommodates journalists, researchers, data scientists, graphic and multimedia designers, and IT developers to collaborate and focus on developing data journalism. Currently, Katadata publishes data-journalism contents every day in various forms.

Description of portfolio:

Katadata submitted three Data Journalism works in this competition. All talk about the Covid-19 pandemic and its handling in Indonesia. However, they have different characteristics and challenges in their work process. We attach translations of the three projects in a Google Drive link.

1. The Origin of Coronavirus in Indonesia

  • The objectives and hypotheses:

The objective is to explore how the coronavirus entered Indonesia for the first time and how it mutated. The hypothesis is that the virus may have entered Indonesia in early 2020, or before the government officially announced the first case in March 2020. This delay could cause Indonesia to be late and not ready to handle the pandemic early on.

  • The work process:

This article was compiled based on the coronavirus’s genome data from Indonesia, which was sent to GISAID. The greatest challenge in compiling this article was reading the sequencing of the coronavirus genome. Since there is so much data available, we have to sort them first. We also interviewed experts who could explain how GISAID works and the coronavirus genome sequencing mechanism.

  • The impact:

This article received positive responses, including from the new Health Minister Budi Sadikin. In a meeting, he quoted the contents of this article regarding the virus transmission process. This article has been read 56,779 times since it was first published on May 22, 2020. It received 31,173 reach on Facebook and 26,076 impressions on Twitter.

2. Indonesia’s Ineffective “3T Protocols” Against COVID-19

  • The objectives and hypotheses:

This article wants to highlight the government’s performance in dealing with the pandemic, which has been going on for six months. The hypothesis is that the government has not succeeded in suppressing Covid-19 positive cases. It is based on data about the Covid-19 case in Indonesia and its comparison with cases in other countries. The assessment standard refers to the three ways of handling a pandemic: Testing, Tracing, and Treatment (3T).

  • The work process:

In preparing this article, we organized a webinar featuring several experts to discuss the 3T implementation. The main challenge in covering the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia is the lack of transparency in government data. We had to explore the unorganized data from ministries and then verify it with other information gathered from fieldwork.

  • The impact:

This article received sufficient response from readers, especially on social media, who questioned the government’s performance. This article has been read 4,396 times since it was first published on August 27, 2020. It received 2,363 reach on Facebook and 31,320 impressions on Twitter.

3. Plastic Waste Flood during the Pandemic

  • The objectives and hypotheses:

This article focuses on waste production, especially plastic and medical waste, during the Covid-19 pandemic. This article hypothesizes an increase in household waste production and trade in line with restrictions on social activities. On the other hand, the ability to sort and process waste is still deficient, resulting in waste accumulation.

  • The work process:

This project consists of three parts and involves a sizeable team, including research teams, graphic designers, and IT. Lack of waste data from the government is one of the challenges, especially regarding the pandemic. We tried to find the data from various sources and submit it to the data team for processing.

  • The impact:

This project received a good response from readers, especially on social media. This article has been read 8,522 times since it was first published on December 2, 2020. It received 16,076 reach on Facebook and 12,715 impressions on Twitter. This article is also being translated for republishing on Earth Journalism Network-Internews.

Project links: