Thu May. 31, 2012
Elizabeth Gettelman
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Today Mother Jones won a Data Journalism Award, a global prize awarded by the Global Editors Network in recognition of outstanding data work in reporting. At the awards ceremony in Paris, Mother Jones, in collaboration with the UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program, was honored for its database project "Terrorists for the FBI," as the most outstanding data-driven investigation in the field. The awards, aiming to honor the growing impact of data in reporting, saw more than 300 applicants from 60 countries. Mother Jones bested a field of nominees that included The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, El Mundo, and the Australian Broadcasting Company.

"We've always felt that data is part of our investigative DNA," said Mother Jones co-editors Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, "and it was especially satisfying to create a dataset where none had existed on such a vital issue." Published in September 2011, the searchable terror trial database includes a robust (and dare we say lively) analysis of 508 post-9/11 domestic terrorism defendants, with information drawn from thousands of pages of court documents.

DJA jury member Giannina Segnini called the project "by far the best investigative piece" of all applicants. "It shows the significant effort required to gather large amounts of data, analyze it, and deeply investigate the individual cases. The analysis discovered a clear pattern on how the FBI generated terrorist plots from sting operations."

"We can now use technology and use data to tell stories in a way that we never could have before," said Trevor Aaronson whose companion story "The Informants" has been awarded three other prizes this year, a John Jay Criminal Justice Reporting award, the Livingston award, and a Western Publications Association Maggie award.

The DJA is the first international competition to recognize outstanding work in the growing field of data journalism. "This award demonstrates how Mother Jones can stay true to its progressive roots while being recognized for outstanding journalism by the best in the global trade," said publisher Steve Katz. "We’re immensely proud of the work our reporters, editors, tech crew, and graphic designers put into this project."

Mother Jones is one of the largest and longest-running independent, nonprofit investigative news organizations in the United States. We specialize in in-depth investigative reporting, commentary, and up to the minute 24/7 news coverage on the pressing political, social, and cultural issues of the day, delivering smart, fearless journalism to more than 3 million readers a month. You can find the database at

For more information or to set up an interview please contact Elizabeth Gettelman,, 415-321-1759.