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The Database of Government’s Official Limos, a project by the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIRN BiH, has been shortlisted for Sigma international award for data journalism in the Open Data category.
The BIRN BiH project that monitors expenditures for official vehicles in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the projects from all over the world shortlisted in six categories. In the Open Data category the total of 14 projects have been shortlisted. They include projects by media outlets such as ProPublica, BBC Shared Data Unit, AFP, Aljazeera, Yahoo News, Pulitzer Center and HuffPost from Great Britain.
“These are the best data journalism projects from 2019,” the pre-jury of Sigma award said in its announcement.
The Sigma award is given to best works in the field of data journalism all over the world. Prizes are given for best data-driven reporting, best visualisation, innovation, young journalist, open data and best news application.
The Open Data category shortlists best projects that “reflect a commitment to making data open, accessible and relevant to other journalists, researchers and general public”.
“This could be anything from a tool or technique to a platform to a published piece of journalism as long as the net effect was to make journalistically relevant data more open and accessible. Impact here is key, and applicants should indicate how they achieved that goal,” the description of Open Data category, in which BIRN BiH database has been shortlisted, indicates.
There have been 510 entries from 66 countries for this year’s Sigma award. The jury composed of ten international experts has picked the best ones in each category – 82 projects from 31 countries. The president of the jury this year is Simon Rogers, an award-winning data journalist, data journalism teacher at Medill-Northwestern University in San Francisco and data editor on the News Lab Team at Google.
The Sigma award was instituted by DataJournalism.com, a project of the European Journalism Center, an international organization of journalists established in Brussels, with sponsorship provided by Google News Initiative.
The database of official vehicles in Bosnia and Herzegovina contains all tenders for procurement of official vehicles in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2018 onwards, as well as vehicle fleets of hundreds of institutions and public companies. The database is regularly updated. It also contains technical specifications of vehicles from tender documents, which are otherwise not available to general public in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the bidding procedures.
BIRN BiH entered the competition with its article published in January 2019 concerning costs of procurement of official vehicles during the previous year, when tenders worth over KM 93 million were issued. The BIRN BiH database contains data on completed tender procedures for nearly 1,000 cars during 2018 on which nearly KM 40 million was spent. The data contained in the database have shown which were the most expensive vehicles bought during one year, which companies won the most tenders and which institutions spent the most on them, but it has also shown that in the case of 87 percent of all tender procedures completed during 2018 there was only one application per tender.
The database of official vehicles is a unique database on procurement of official vehicles and vehicle fleet of institutions, which is often quoted by the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.
The Sigma award winners will be announced by the end of February 2020.