Fighting COVID-19 with Data: An Analysis of Data Journalism Projects Submitted to Sigma Awards 2021
University of Tartu, Estonia
ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 health crisis has been heavily reported on an international scale for several years. This has pushed news journalism in a datafied direction: reporters have learnt how to analyse and visualise the statistical effects of COVID-19 on various sectors of society. As a result, in 2021, the international Sigma Awards competition for data journalism highlighted coverage of the pandemic. Using content analysis with qualitative elements, this paper analyses the shortlisted works covering COVID-19 from the competition (n=73). It focuses on the data references made by the teams – sources, type of both reference and data used – showing statistics from official institutions to be the most used type of data. It also lists the main problems journalists had to face while working on their projects. Most often these problems fell into two categories: specific characteristics of the project, mostly ‘time consuming’, and issues with data.