Christina Elmer (38) joins Lorenz Matzat and Matthias Spielkamp (who co-founded AlgorithmWatch in 2017) in developing the organization’s strategic direction. “I’m very much looking forward to a new challenge and to working closely together! AlgorithmWatch contributes to a better understanding of automated processes, promotes social participation, and drives effective regulation forward. We all believe that this is what our increasingly digitalized society needs. I look with great respect at all the projects and the research AlgorithmWatch already did and continues to do. And I am proud of being able to support the work of Matthias, Lorenz, and the entire team.”
After having worked for the German news agency dpa, as an investigative journalist for the weekly magazine Stern, and for the editorial board of Spiegel Online, Christina Elmer was appointed Professor of Data Journalism and Digital Journalism at TU Dortmund University in 2021 (https://www.tu-dortmund.de/nachrichtendetail/detail/berufung-der-ersten-professur-fuer-datenjournalismus-in-deutschland-9997/). Since 2013, she is a board member of the German association of investigative journalists, Netzwerk Recherche, in which capacity she works on spreading journalistic methods and skills related to data based research.
“Journalistic and scientific research are at the core of AlgorithmWatch‘s evidence-based work and our political demands. Being a scientist with many years of journalistic experience in leading positions, Christina is a fantastic fit for our organization,” AlgorithmWatch’s Executive Director Matthias Spielkamp concludes. “We couldn’t dream of finding anybody who is nearly as familiar with our field of activity and our working methods. Her ideas and her experience will enrich our work considerably.”
Lorenz Matzat, co-founder at AlgorithmWatch, withdrew from the operative business in March 2022 but remains shareholder. Since late 2021, he is a visiting professor at the University of Leipzig’s Institute of Communication and Media. Currently, he works on a new platform for reliable journalistic content in Switzerland called Polaris.
The non-profit research and advocacy organization AlgorithmWatch scrutinizes and evaluates algorithmic decision-making systems in order to develop ideas how to implement and monitor them in favor of democratic processes, the common good, and participation. Algorithmic systems have to be controlled democratically and must meet the constitutional requirements – no matter whether they enable governmental biometric recognition, scoring by commercial enterprises such as Schufa, or Facebook’s, Google’s, and TikTok’s recommender systems.
AlgorithmWatch was founded in 2017. 25 people work now for the German branch and three people for the Swiss branch. The organization is funded by Bertelsmann Stiftung, Civitates, the European AI Fund, the Open Society Foundations, Schöpflin Stiftung, Stiftung Mercator, as well as the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. AlgorithmWatch cooperates with German and European universities and participates in the excellence initiative Centre for Automated Decision-Making and Society, funded by the Australian Research Council.