Journalism Prize for Informatics 2022 awarded
Minister Jürgen Barke, award winners Kerstin Gallmeyer and Uwe Jäger, laudator Dr. Christel Weins (from left to right) Photo: Manuela Meyer
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The Saarland Ministry of Economics, in cooperation with the Saarland Informatics Campus, awards the Journalism Prize for Informatics. A Youtube format from Bayerischer Rundfunk, a radio feature from Saarländischer Rundfunk, an article from the magazine “NZZ Folio” and an article from the magazine “Spektrum der Wissenschaft” will be awarded. The award ceremony will take place today at 6 pm at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) on the Saarbrücken university campus.
The Journalism Prize for Informatics was first awarded in 2006 and is endowed with a total of 16,000 euros. The prize money for the main prizes in the three categories “Text”, “Audio” and “Video and Multimedia”, each worth 5,000 euros, is sponsored by the Saarland Ministry of Economics. In addition, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence is again sponsored a special prize of 1,000 euros this year. The aim of the Journalism Prize for Informatics is to promote high-quality reporting on topics in computer science.
Jürgen Barke, Saarland Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digital Affairs and Energy, congratulated the prize winners: “Saarland is an internationally renowned computer science location with a large number of innovative research institutions. With the Journalism Prize for Informatics, which is unique in Germany, we want to make the opportunities and risks associated with digitalisation accessible and understandable to a large public. The prize winners we are honoring today have achieved this in an extraordinary way.”
The jury of the Journalism Prize for Informatics consists of Christel Weins, scientist and founder of the Journalism Prize, Peter Hergersberg, editor of MaxPlanckForschung, Dr. Ilka Desgranges, long-time journalist of the Saarbrücker Zeitung, Dr. Wolfgang Pohl, managing director of the National Computer Science Competitions, Florian Possinger, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Prof. Dr. Reinhard Wilhelm, computer science professor at Saarland University and Peter Welchering, freelance technology and science journalist.
The winning entries of the Journalism Prize for Informatics 2022 in detail:
The main prize of 5,000 euros in the category “Audio” goes to the radio feature “Was wäre wenn: Der große Angriff – Cyberattacke auf das Saarland” by Kerstin Gallmeyer and Uwe Jäger, published on Saarländischer Rundfunk on 4 December 2021. The contribution can be accessed online at https://www.sr.de/sr/sr2/sendungen_a-z/uebersicht/die_reportage/20211204_cyberangriff_die_reportage_100.html
Jury statement: “Kerstin Gallmeyer and Uwe Jäger show the vulnerability of the critical infrastructure with a fictitious example: A regional energy supplier falls victim to a cyber attack, so that the power fails in the entire city area of Saarbrücken. In the feature, fictional scenes about the situation in hospitals are linked with real interviews with experts in a very successful way. The audience is emotionally drawn into the threatening, highly topical scenario and at the same time learns in an informative and understandable way from an affected entrepreneur and a scientist what happens in an extortionist ransomware attack and how to defend against it. In an entertaining way, the audience is moved to take a critical look at the threats of the digitalised world.”
The main prize in the category “Video & Multimedia”, endowed with 5,000 euros, goes to the video entry “So können Handy und Laptop heimlich zuschauen: Unsere App zeigt, wie es geht” by Rebecca Ciesielski, Ariane Alter, Maria Christoph, Sebastian Bayerl, Robert Schöffel and Matthias Dachtler, published on 13 July 2022 on the YouTube channel of PULS Reportage and in the ARD media library. The contribution is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGKY_F50I_8.
Jury statement: “In the award-winning contribution, the youth format of Bayerischer Rundfunk, Puls Reportage, addresses a digital threat that most smartphone and laptop users, and thus also the “digital natives”, sometimes more, sometimes less consciously ignore – namely that apps could secretly switch on and read out the camera of their device. The article shows: This highly unpleasant thought has long been a reality. Using various apps and operating systems, a software developer demonstrates to reporter Ariane Alter how easily these programmes can switch on the camera completely unnoticed and record screenshots and screen recordings. The topic, which is highly sensitive in times of home offices and video conferences, is communicated in a very understandable way using example scenarios and diagrams and commented on by presenter Ariane Alter in her usual shrill manner. All viewers should have alarm bells ringing after this contribution if they carelessly leave their devices switched on in intimate situations.”
The main prize of 5,000 euros in the category “Text” goes to the reportage “Wie lange braucht es uns noch?” by Reto U. Schneider, published on 5 September 2022 in the magazine NZZ Folio. The article can be found at https://www.nzz.ch/folio/wie-lange-braucht-es-uns-noch-ld.1700707, where it is presented in a special way.
Jury statement: “Fascinating and frightening at the same time is Reto Schneider’s brilliant contribution on artificial intelligence as co-author. The journalist analyses the new linguistic power of the machine and uses it directly himself in formulating his article. AI and human creativity thus merge unnoticed, only the critical observer notices the differences. This also applies to the artworks that illustrate the magazine article and were created by the AI itself on the basis of somewhat weird work assignments. With a lot of humour, Reto Schneider looks at the unimagined possibilities, especially for creative people, always with a slightly sceptical undertone as to what relevance human creativity still has. At the same time, he explains in a clear and well-founded way how neural networks work. In doing so, he shows what the achievements and weaknesses of these AI systems are in the form of the text programme GPT-3 and the art generator Dall-E 2. The beautifully prepared web version moves past the reader almost like a film thanks to animated elements.”
The special prize of 1,000 euros awarded by the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) honours the article “Auf digitaler Spurensuche” by Manon Bischoff, published on 15 July 2022 in the magazine “Spektrum der Wissenschaft”. For subscribers of the magazine to read here: https://www.spektrum.de/magazin/open-source-intelligence-auf-der-jagd-nach-kriegsverbrechern/2021593
Jury statement: “The author Manon Bischoff has dealt with an extremely topical issue, namely the question of how information from many sources, including smartphones, can be combined in digital forensics to obtain reliable information about war crimes. Using the example of various crisis areas, she analyses how journalists can conduct well-founded and truthful research, even if they are not on site for security reasons. In doing so, she vividly explains various research options and technical tools and explains how private individuals collect secret information via so-called open source intelligence (OSINT for short). In the discussion whether this is digital forensics or journalism, the author positions herself clearly. With info boxes, interviews and many personal references, the article is varied and exciting to read.”
Saarland Informatics Campus
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Background Saarland Informatics Campus:
900 scientists (including 400 PhD students) and about 2500 students from more than 80 nations make the Saarland Informatics Campus (SIC) one of the leading locations for computer science in Germany and Europe. Four world-renowned research institutes, namely the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, the Center for Bioinformatics as well as Saarland University with three departments and 24 degree programs cover the entire spectrum of computer science.
Correction on 27.1.2023: The awarded article by Reto Schneider was published on 5 September 2022, not 2021 as previously written.