Cities for Rent

Cities for Rent won the 2022 European Press Prize Innovation Award.

Cities for Rent: Investigating Corporate Landlords Across Europe is a cross-border investigation that won the Innovation Award of the European Press Prize 2022. Find more information about the team members and journalists who directly contributed to the investigation below, or on the Cities for Rent website.

Jose Miguel Calatayud

Jose Miguel Calatayud is a journalist based in Berlin since January 2020, and a Project Director at Arena for Journalism in Europe, which promotes cross-border collaborative journalism and where he manages the Arena Housing Project, an open collaborative network for housing reporters and researchers. He launched and was the coordinator of the collaborative investigation Cities for Rent: Investigating Corporate Landlords Across Europe, which has been nominated for several international awards.

Before moving to Berlin, Jose was successively based in Nairobi, Istanbul and Barcelona. He has reported from more than 20 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East; and his writing has appeared in Foreign Policy magazine, Al Jazeera, New Statesman and El País, among other media outlets. In 2017 and 2018, he researched citizen political activism, democracy and human rights in Europe thanks to an Open Society Fellowship. In 2012, his feature ‘A la horca con 14 años’ (‘To the Gallows at 14’), about a child sentenced to death in South Sudan, won the Dario D’Angelo Award, given by the Marco Luchetta Foundation.

He’s interested in cross-border and interdisciplinary collaborations, and has also worked with organisations like AlgorithmWatch, Tactical Tech and Eticas Foundation.

Adriana Homolova

Adriana Homolova is a Slovak-born Netherlands-based data journalist. She uses Python to make sense of very large spreadsheets. At the moment, she is involved as a freelance data journalist and trainer in European investigative projects at Follow the Money, Arena for Journalism in Europe, and Lost in Europe. In the past she was involved with the OCCRP, Dutch newsrooms Investico, One World and Pointer, and has lead the project ‘Elvis – map me tender’: an online tool for making European public tenders visual.

Hendrik Lehmann

Hendrik Lehmann is Head of the Tagesspiegel Innovation Lab, where he has worked as a data journalist, reporter and videojournalist since 2016. Together with his interdisciplinary team of developers, designers and editors, he focuses on interactive journalism, data analysis, crowd-investigations and the Journalism of Things.

He has coordinated multiple collaborative investigations together with international media outlets, researchers and universities. Some examples include partners from the Technical University of Berlin, Humboldt University Berlin, Arena for Journalism Europe, Democracy Reporting International, Correctiv, the Big Data Center of the Fraunhofer IMW Leipzig and various Startups. Main projects he contributed to were “Radmesser”, “Wem gehört Berlin?”,  “Cities for Rent”, the Social Media Dashboard for the German Elections and “A female Fight for the Future”.

Hendrik received the Reporterpreis for Data Journalism in 2018, 2019 and 2021, the Data Journalism Award of the Global Editors Network 2019 for Innovation, the Ernst-Schneider-Preis 2021 as well as various other awards.

Before joining Tagesspiegel, Lehmann worked for foundations and different media outlets as a freelance journalist. He studied Political Science at Free University Berlin as well as Urban and Digital Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Alexandra Siebenhofer

Alexandra Siebenhofer studied Chinese and applied computer sciences in Vienna, Leiden (the Netherlands) and Nanjing (China). She started to work for the Austrian public broadcaster ORF in 2013, first at the economic desk for the radio news, then at the TV news. She has worked on collaborative cross-country projects with the Balkan investigate reporters network (BIRN) and with the German investigative journalism project Correctiv.

Steven Vanden Bussche

Steven Vanden Bussche studied history at University of Gent after which he taught in secondary and adult education. Since 2005 Steven has been working as a journalist. First as a regional correspondent for a regional newspaper and later for the Belga News Agency. Since 2017 Steven has been working full time for the investigative news platform Apache.

Gaby Khazalová

Gaby Khazalová is a reporter employed by Czech online media Deník Referendum. Her main focus since 2017 has been the housing crisis, but she has been also working on several other investigative projects. In 2020 she founded the project called “The City” focusing on architecture and urban space, which she runs as an editor.

Bo Elkjær

Bo Elkjaer is a Danish writer and investigative reporter, writing for the daily newspaper Dagbladet Information. He has investigated different issues such as international surveillance, the war in Iraq and cross border VAT fraud and participated in cross border investigations such as Grand Theft Europe. Bo Elkjaer has presented his findings on surveillance and VAT fraud for the EU Parliament and Commission and at international media conferences such as Dataharvest and the Global Investigative Journalism Conference GIJC.

Alexander Abdelilah

Born in Paris, Alexander Abdelilah spent many years working in Germany, exploring the aftermath of the refugee crisis. Now based in the East of France, he focuses on longer investigations about corruption, financial and environmental crimes for French, Luxembourg and German media. Datasets and spreadsheets are his weapons of choice.

Sotiris Sideris

Sotiris Sideris is a freelance data journalist and trainer from Athens, Greece. He is the data editor of Reporters United and the Center of Investigative Collaborative Journalism (CCIJ). He also serves as a lecturer of digital media at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, and as a research associate in the NTLab at the University of Athens. In 2017, Sotiris co-founded AthensLive. In the past, he has also worked as the coordinator and editor-in-chief of the multilingual newspaper Migratory Birds, and as a producer and researcher for the national TV documentary series Citizens of Europe.

Lois Kapila

Lois Kapila is a co-founder, editor and reporter at Dublin Inquirer, an independent reader-funded newspaper and website covering Ireland’s capital. She mainly covers housing and land. She previously worked for The Statesman newspaper in Kolkata.

Alice Facchini

Alice Facchini is an Italian journalist with a passion for telling stories about social justice, environmental issues and human rights. She reported from different countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Jordan and Guinea Bissau. She have been working with The Guardian, Rai3, Internazionale, L’Essenziale, Repubblica, IRPI – Investigative Reporting Project Italy, Altreconomia and others.

Steinar Rostad Breivik

Steinar Rostad Breivik is a Norwegian journalist based in Oslo. Since 2016, he has been working for E24, the country’s largest business and economic newspaper.

Micael Pereira

Micael Pereira is a senior reporter at the leading Portuguese newspaper Expresso. He has reported on corruption cases in Portugal and also in some African countries, such as Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Angola. He’s a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and was involved in many of its projects, including the Pulitzer awarded Panama Papers, the Emmy awarded Luanda Leaks, and Pandora Papers. Micael works also with the European Investigations Collaborations (EIC) network, having been involved in the Football Leaks and Malta Files investigations, and collaborates with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). He was part of the Forbidden Stories’ Green Blood series in 2019, on the environmental and social impact of mining. And in 2021, he was the author of the documentary Black Trail, a European co-production about why ships continue to burn and emit the dirtiest of fuels.

Manuel Gabarre

Manuel is a lawyer turned researcher and journalist who specializes in housing financialisation and is committed to the fight against corruption.

Christian Zeier

Christian Zeier is a reporter and investigative journalist based in Switzerland. After reporting as a freelance journalist from numerous countries in Africa and the Middle East, he co-founded the independent investigative platform Reflekt. For his work, Christian was awarded two Swiss Press Awards and a “Zürcher Journalistenpreis” – two of the most prestigious journalism awards in his home country. Today he’s editor-in-chief of Reflekt and lives in Bern.

Cat McShane

Cat McShane is a documentary director and investigative journalist based in the UK. Her work reveals institutional failings and biases through the use of powerful human stories, and she is committed to making work that leads to change. In 2019 she was nominated for the Harold Wincott award for a BBC Panorama investigation into the treatment of hundreds of thousands of ex-Northern Rock mortgage holders after the last financial crash.

David Meidinger

David Meidinger studied physics at Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität Berlin. After finishing his PhD in mathematical physics, he worked as a freelance web developer, and joined Tagesspiegel with a Google fellowship in 2018. He is one of the initiators of project “Radmesser”.

Now part of the new Tagesspiegel Innovation Lab, he is concerned with data analysis and visualization, software and web development, and follows current developments in machine learning and AI.

Bene Brandhofer

Bene Brandhofer is a freelance photographer and designer. After studying photography in Bielefeld and working in photography for a few years, he followed his interest in the Internet and journalism. Today, in addition to his work as a photographer, he specializes in user experience, interface design and visual storytelling. With the Tagesspiegel Innovation Lab he has already realized numerous successful projects.

Nikolas Zöller

Nikolas Zöller is a researcher, developer and data scientist living in Berlin who is currently pursuing a PhD in Computational Social Science studying online collaboration. He was a Google News Lab fellow at German newspaper Tagesspiegel in 2017 and has since then been collaborating with the Tagesspiegel Innovation Lab on data journalism projects as a freelance data scientist and developer.

Benedikt Hebeisen

Benedikt Hebeisen works as a freelance journalist and IT developer. His key interest is the intersection of investigative journalism and technology. His work focuses on topics related to human rights and hate groups and their networks. Benedikt cooperates with different cross-border teams and NGOs.

Helena Wittlich

Helena Wittlich is a 30-year old journalist based in Berlin. In January 2019 she started working as an editor at the recently established Tagesspiegel Innovation Lab which focuses on participatory crowd investigation, data-driven reporting, and the development of appealing forms of storytelling for online readers. She became part of the project “Radmesser” in August 2018.

Before joining Der Tagesspiegel as a freelancer in 2015, she worked for different German media such as Zeit Online and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Helena Wittlich studied science journalism at Hochschule Darmstadt and journalism and media studies as a Fulbright Scholar at Rutgers University in New Jersey as well as the history and culture of science and technology at Technische Universität Berlin.

Anna Thewalt

Anna Thewalt is working for the Berlin based newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. Originally from Mainz, she studied History and German Literature in Dresden, and Global History in Berlin and Paris. Her main areas of interest are politics, history and remembrance culture, especially in regard to colonial history. In 2022, she is covering the French election campaign for Der Tagesspiegel.

Sinan Reçber

Sinan Reçber is a journalist based in Berlin and covers a range of topics including economy, the climate crisis and the energy sector. He reports on the transformations that are needed to achieve a zero-carbon society which implies phasing out fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Sinan Reçber studied Psychology at the University of Wuppertal.

Hans Jordheim

Hans is a 31 years old Norwegian from just outside Oslo. He’s been working for E24 for over four years, covering a variety of fields in Norway’s business sectors. Hans was one of two journalists, alongside Steinar Rostad Breivik, working on the Cities for rent project with a Norwegian perspective. Their main project on the theme was documenting how little the biggest Norwegian private real estate investor pays in property tax to the city of Oslo. Outside of work he likes to ride his bike, play squash, go to pub quizzes and concerts.

Jakub Nakládal

Jakub Nakládal (born in 1990) is an architect, organizer and researcher based in Prague, Czech Republic. He is focused on researching the housing crisis and seeking solutions for affordable housing. Jakub is a member of Re-set, a platform for social and ecological transformation and a member of Paměť města, a platform for critical mapping of transformation of Prague. He also cooperates with two progressive Czech online media Deník Alarm and Deník Referendum.

Mathieu Périsse

Mathieu Périsse is a member of the collective of freelance journalists WeReport. He is based in Lyon (France), and works on long-term investigations and reports for French media. He occasionally makes documentaries for radio programs and is the co-author of a book on sexual violence in French catholic Church.

Lorenzo Bagnoli

Lorenzo Bagnoli is an investigative reporter and editor at IrpiMedia. He joined IRPI – Investigative Reporting Project Italy in 2012. He has collaborated with several international teams such as Suisse Secrets, The Daphne Project, OpenLux and Cities for Rent. He was a Democracy Undone Reporting Fellow in 2019 with The Groundtruth Project (US).

Sara Pinho

Sara Pinho was born in Portugal. She studied Journalism and she holds a Master’s Degree in International Studies, in which she wrote her thesis on the inclusion of refugees in rural Portugal. Forced migration, human rights and climate change are some of the issues that interest her most. Sara has always preferred listening to talking and she believes that her interest in journalism may have started there. She is a member of TEMA Magazine, an online magazine for pop journalism and photography, and of Wamãe, an independent association for public anthropology.


Sneakerjagd was selected for the 2022 European Press Prize shortlist. 

The widely acclaimed “Sneakerjagd” (Sneaker Hunt) is a large-scale, serial and cross-media investigation by media partners FLIP, ZEIT and NDR that made a splash at the end of 2021. Our team of reporters wanted to find out: What happens to our old shoes after we dispose them of? Can we trust the sustainability promises of manufacturers and retailers? What consequences does our shoe consumption have for the environment, our health and the rest of the world?

For this we concealed GPS transmitters in the soles of old sneakers worn by eleven celebrities, fed them into various disposal channels, and tracked them around the world for more than five months and many thousands of miles. It was a hunt in which we ourselves did not know in advance where it would lead us.

We disposed of the GPS sneakers in different ways. We threw them into textile collection bins and we returned them to major retailers and manufacturers. At a Nike store, we threw them into a brown box that said “Recycle your old shoes.” A similar box at textile giant Zara said, “Give the clothes you no longer wear a new life.” These are prompts that suggest to customers: You can still do something good with your old shoes. But is that really true?

It’s a big question that little was known about until our investigation. Every year, around 1.4 billion pairs of sneakers are sold, twice as many as in 2012, and corporations make around $70 billion in revenue from them. More and more shoes are produced – and eventually discarded because they are worn out, don’t look so chic after all, or the shelf is already full to bursting. In Germany alone, over 380 million pairs of shoes are thrown away every year, almost five pairs per person.

For the first time, “Sneakerjagd” has shown in detail what happens to our old shoes. Among other things, we uncovered that Zara took donated, well-preserved shoes directly to a waste disposal company. We were able to prove that Nike was destroying brand-new shoes under the disguise of its widely promoted “Nike Grind” recycling program, potentially violating German law, according to the German government. And we were able to document the export of our old sneakers to African countries where they cause huge environmental problems. In Kenya, for example, we followed our sneakers to apocalyptic and illegal waste sites full of old textiles.

Because “Sneakerjagd” tells many stories, we have published this major investigation as a cross-media serial over several weeks. NDR contributed various films and podcast/radio, ZEIT larger texts. FLIP took care of GPS tracking, social media strategy and newsletter. FLIP also developed the central project website, an interactive world map where you can follow the route of each sneaker. In the end, “Sneakerjagd” has reached around 10 Million people – ranging from celebrity Insta stories to Germany’s main news show “Tagesschau”.

The idea and concept stem from Flip Co-founders Felix Rohrbeck and Christian Salewski. Salewski was also in charge of the overall project. With all participants, the team finally comprised 20 people in the following roles:

Idea & Concept: Felix Rohrbeck, Christian Salewski

Head of Project: Christian Salewski

Editors: Felix Rohrbeck (FLIP), Dietmar Schiffermüller (Strg_F / NDR Fernsehen), Jürgen Webermann (NDR Info), Karsten Polke-Majewski (DIE ZEIT / ZEIT Online)

Reporters: Manuel Daubenberger, Benedikt Dietsch, Johannes Edelhoff, Willem Konrad, Anne Kunze, Felix Rohrbeck, Christian Salewski

GPS-Technology: Felix Rohrbeck, Christian Salewski, Christoph Scholl, Oliver Strecke

Development Project Website: Christian Sothmann (Lead), Moritz Klack, Fabian Dinklage, Lorenz Jeric, Christian Salewski, Simon Wörpel, Sascha Venohr

Social Media Strategy: Lorenz Jeric

Camera: Manuel Daubenberger, Willem Konrad, Andrzej Krol

Film Dramaturgy / Editing: Willem Konrad

Podcast: Melanie Böff, Felix Rohrbeck, Christian Salewski

Team Biographies

Melanie Böff is a freelance reporter and works for various editorial departments of the German broadcaster NDR. She is the head and voice behind the podcast on the sneaker hunt.

Manuel Daubenberger is an investigative filmmaker with an affinity for files and places off the beaten track.

Benedikt Dietsch is an investigative journalist focusing on greenwashing and climate change.

Fabian Dinklage is a freelance information designer with a focus on data visualization.

Johannes Edelhoff is an editor at German broadcaster ARD/NDR. He is the go-to interview guy in the team and is well known at Nike’s press office – now.

Lorenz Jeric is a German social media journalist at Flip, a media startup focused on greenwashing.

Anne Kunze is an investigative reporter at the German weekly DIE ZEIT.

Moritz Klack is a web developer with a focus on open-source software and interactive data visualizations.

Willem Konrad is a documentary filmmaker for the public broadcaster ARD/NDR and various production companies. His work involves the conception, realization and post-production of documentaries and newly developed TV formats.

Andrzej Król is a cinematographer with a focus on reportage and documentaries.

Karsten Polke-Majewski is head of the investigation department at DIE ZEIT.

Felix Rohrbeck is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Flip. As a business journalist, he has received many awards for his investigative research, elaborate reporting and cross-media stories.

Christian Salewski is head of Sneakerjagd, co-founder of Flip and a freelance investigative reporter (mostly for NDR and DIE ZEIT).

Dietmar Schiffermüller  is head of STRG_F and “Panorama – die Reporter” at German broadcaster ARD/NDR.

Christian Sothmann is one of the co-founders of Flip and manages all things digital in the start-up.

Sascha Venohr is a data journalist working for the investigative department at DIE ZEIT / ZEIT ONLINE.

Jürgen Webermann is head of the economic department at NDR Info.

Simon Wörpel is an independent investigative data journalist, researcher and leak librarian.

The GPS technology was realized in cooperation with the company Viamon.

The web development agency webkid developed the project website