Journalist’s Prize for Informatics 2021 awarded

This year, for the 15th time, the Saarland State Chancellery, in cooperation with the Saarland Informatics Campus, awards the Journalist’s Prize for Informatics. A documentary aired by Westdeutscher Rundfunk, a radio feature by Deutschlandfunk Kultur, an article from the magazine “ZEIT WISSEN” and a YouTube video by Bayerischer Rundfunk will be awarded. Due to the Corona pandemic, the award ceremony will take place again virtually this year. Today, starting at 6:00 p.m., it will be broadcast on the Youtube channel of the Saarland Informatics Campus – live from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics.

The Journalist’s Prize for Informatics was first awarded in 2006 and is endowed with a total of 16,000 euros. The award money for the main awards in the three categories “text,” “audio,” and “video and multimedia,” each endowed with 5,000 euros, is provided by the State Chancellery of Saarland. In addition, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence is again donating a special award of 1,000 euros this year. The aim of the Journalist’s Prize for Informatics is to promote high-quality reporting on topics related to informatics. For the 2021 edition of the Journalist’s Prize for Informatics, the seven-member jury of experts evaluated a total of 56 submissions, including 28 in the “text” category, 14 in the “audio” category and 14 in the “video and multimedia” category. As of next year, the award will be renamed the “Journalist’s Prize for Informatics”.

Saarland’s Minister President Tobias Hans, patron of the Journalist’s Prize for Informatics, congratulates the award winners: “For more than 50 years, computer science has shaped Saarland and has become a core strength of our state. We are proud of this development and the internationally renowned research landscape that has developed around the Saarland Informatics Campus. However, cutting-edge research always requires serious journalistic reporting for broad social acceptance. We are therefore pleased to be able to support particularly outstanding contributions with the Journalist’s Prize for Informatics. I would like to thank the award jury for their commitment and congratulate all the award winners. In addition, with the anniversary of the award in mind, I would also like to reaffirm its future, with a small change that is very close to my heart: Starting next year, we would like to use the name “Journalism Award in Informatics,” and thus consider gender-appropriate language.”

The jury of the Journalist’s Prize for Informatics Science consists of Christel Weins, scientist and founder of the Award, Peter Hergersberg, editorial board of MaxPlanckForschung, Dr. Ilka Desgranges, Saarbrücker Zeitung, Dr. Wolfgang Pohl, managing director of the German Federal Computer Science Competitions, Florian Possinger, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Prof. Dr. Reinhard Wilhelm, professor of computer science at Saarland University, and Peter Welchering, independent technology and science journalist.

The winning entries of the Journalist’s Prize for Informatics 2021 in detail:

The main award of 5,000 euros in the “audio” category goes to the radio feature “Happiness and Robots – Eine Reise in das Land der empathischen Roboter” by Gesine Schmidt, released on Deutschlandfunk Kultur on November 17, 2020. The feature can be accessed online at

Jury statement:

“Gesine Schmidt takes listeners on a journey to Japan, a pioneering country in robotics. In this piece, which is embellished with many elements of radio plays and original sounds, she is always accompanied by “Astro Boy”, a well-known Japanese manga character in the form of an android boy who embodies the positive image of robots in the Land of the Rising Sun. Less interested in technical details than in the social impact of technology, the feature makes listeners experience the hopes and opportunities projected onto robots in Japan in an extremely vivid way – visiting a robot exhibition, watching nursing robots at work in a retirement home, or being greeted by a robot in everyday situations such as a visit to the bank. Highly elaborate and excellently produced, the feature gives listeners fascinating insights into another culture and its approach to technology.”


The main award of 5,000 euros in the “video & multimedia” category goes to the TV documentary “Made to Measure – Eine digitale Spurensuche” by Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck and Cosima Terrasse, broadcast on September 1, 2021 on Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). This includes the experiment website (also available in English).

Jury statement:

“The subject matter dealt with in the documentary “Made to Measure – a digital search for traces” by Moritz Riesewieck, Cosima Terrasse and Hans Block is not new. It should be common knowledge that Internet giants like Google, Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook) and Co. collect and store the most private user data. What is impressive, however, is how the team of authors from the artist group Laokoon has brought this fact to the personal level, vividly showing what it can mean for the individual. The filmmakers launched an experiment in which they sought volunteers and, using only data collected by Google, created a doppelganger that re-enacted the life of a “test subject” – down to the smallest detail, including intimate secrets no stranger should know and accurate reconstructions of physical environments. Just like the participant in the film, the viewer is deeply shocked by the precision of the reconstruction and questions his or her own behavior online, what he or she reveals about themselves, and what can happen to the exposed data.”


The main award of 5,000 euros in the “text” category goes to the report ” Software Blues” by Max Rauner, published in ZEIT WISSEN magazine on October 13, 2020. For ZEIT subscribers, the article is available at

Jury statement:

“In his article, Max Rauner deals with a widespread problem in computer technology: inefficient and bloated software. Everyone is annoyed by having to constantly buy new hardware because the memory is no longer sufficient or the processor can no longer keep up. This hunger for computing power and storage space is not only annoying for users, but also devastating for the environment because of the huge energy consumption and the constant need for new hardware – and it’s also antisocial. Poorer people cannot keep up in this technology race. The award-winning article portrays the Danish developer duo of the audio editing program “Hindenburg”. This program opposes the unleashed growth and upgrade trend and deliberately keeps its software small and resource-saving, so that it remains executable on old devices and can thus also be used in developing countries. The entertainingly written article, which is embellished with illustrative (code) examples, manages the balancing act between portraying two idiosyncratic characters and pointing out a bad trend within computer science – as well as its approach to a solution. Hopefully, large software corporations will read this article!”


The special award of 1,000 euros awarded by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) goes to the video entry “NFT: Was steckt hinter Kunst-NFTs und kann ich damit Geld verdienen?” by Lukas Hellbrügge, Sebastian Meinberg, Alexandra Reinsberg and Heike Schuffenhauer, published on April 21, 2021 on the PULS Reportage YouTube channel and in the ARD media library. The piece is available at

Jury statement:

“The young people’s format of Bayerischer Rundfunk, “PULS Reportage”, deals in the award-winning episode with the topic of “Non Fungible Tokens”, or NFTs for short. Picking up on the hype about so-called art NFTs, the contribution explains several, current and complicated concepts of computer science through vivid graphics and in clear, easy-to-understand language. However, the piece not only discusses the titular “art NFTs,” but also looks at future applications of the technology that could benefit society – but most importantly, the massive amounts of energy that blockchains and NFTs are currently consuming. In their video entry, the authors take a look behind the scenes of a hype and point out opportunities and risks in a way that is easy to understand. The jury awards the team the special award for this.”


Questions can be directed at:
Philipp Zapf-Schramm
Competence Center Computer Science
Saarland Informatics Campus
Phone: +49 681 302-70741


Background Saarland Informatics Campus:
900 scientists (including 400 PhD students) and about 2100 students from more than 80 nations make the Saarland Informatics Campus (SIC) one of the leading locations for computer science in Germany and Europe. Five 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 and the Cluster for “Multimodal Computing and Interaction” as well as Saarland University with three departments and 24 degree programs cover the entire spectrum of computer science.



Press photos for download for use free of charge in connection with this press release:

blank Moritz Riesewieck, Hans Block and Cosima Terrasse (from left to right), winners of the Journalist Prize in Informatics 2021 in the category Video & Multimedia. Photo: Laokoon/ Photographer: Konrad Waldmann
blank Dr. Max Rauner, winner of the Journalist Prize in Informatics 2021 in the category „Text". Photo: David Maupilé
blank Gesine Schmidt, winner of the Journalist Prize in Informatics 2021 in the category " Audio ". Photo: Max Zerrahn
blank Heike Schuffenhauer, Pwinner of the special prize at the Journalist Prize in Informatics 2021; Photo: BR
blank Heike Schuffenhauer, winner of the special prize at the Journalist Prize in Informatics 2021; Photo: BR
blank Sebastian Meinberg, winner of the special prize at the Journalist Prize in Informatics 2021; Photo: BR
blank Lukas Hellbrügge, winner of the special prize at the Journalist Prize in Informatics 2021; Photo: BR

Die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit am Saarland Informatics Campus wird unterstützt durch das Kompetenzzentrum Informatik Saarland, gefördert aus Mitteln des Europäischen Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) und Mitteln der Staatskanzlei Saarland.

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Logo Staatskanzlei Saarland