Researchers and Guardian win top journalism award

Posted by fi17 at Jun 01, 2012 04:14 PM |
University of Leicester researcher wins award
Researchers and Guardian win top journalism award

Dr Farida Vis

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office, Friday 1 June 2012

Picture of Dr Farida Vis available from

An academic collaboration with the Guardian newspaper has been awarded a data journalism award for its work on how Twitter was used during last summer’s riots.

Professor Rob Procter from The University of Manchester led the JISC-funded analysis of 2.6 million Twitter messages, which was published by the Guardian last December as one element of its extensive Reading the Riots study.

Dr Farida Vis from the University of Leicester was the lead social media researcher on the project.

The Guardian, along with Professor Procter and his team, which include Dr Alex Voss from St Andrew’s University and Dr Vis from the Department of Media and Communication, will pick up the award at the Global Editor’s Networks’ World News summit in Paris today.

The DJA is the first international competition to recognise outstanding work in the growing field of data journalism.

The Global Editor’s Network initiative is supported by Google and is organised in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre.

There are three DJA categories awarded at both national/international levels and local/regional levels, giving out a total of six prizes

The Guardian and Professor Procter’s team took on nine other nominees to win the data visualisation and storytelling category at national and international level.

This award is given to an exceptional use of data visualisations, including maps, to put news into context and provide insight into complex matters that are relevant to society.

The jury, led by founder of ProPublica Paul Steiger, consists of data journalism experts and editors from across the world.

Professor Procter, who is director of The University’s Manchester e-Research Centre, said: “We’re delighted to win this important award with the Guardian.

“The data visualisation that we developed in collaboration with the Guardian has been a valuable tool for understanding how people use Twitter in crisis situations and, in particular, the propagation of rumour.”

Dr Torsten Reimer, the JISC programme manager responsible for the project, said: “We are pleased that we had the chance to support this project to demonstrate how this infrastructure can be used to understand what happened during the riots in August."



Notes for editors

The multidisciplinary team was able to exploit the rich data sources and data manipulation methods available today while drawing on the rich understanding of social phenomena provided by the social sciences. For more information visit

Dr Farida Vis from the University of Leicester was the lead social media researcher on the project.

Dr Alex Voss from the University of St Andrews provided the collaborative virtual research environment that underpinned the collaboration as well as computational and storage resources required for computer-based analysis of the dataset.

The team would like to acknowledge the invaluable financial support from JISC which made this work possible.

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