Colombia Investigative Journalism Latin America

Chicas Poderosas Colombia: they did it again this time with Facebook & Consejo de Redacción

By on March 7, 2018

Why is it important to check and verify information in a regional and local context?

Information is a tool of power, with which you can contribute to the construction of more or less equitable relationships. In this sense, it is important to generate channels of access to information that allow us to ask ourselves questions about our daily consumption, about the explicit and implicit discourses of the information that we access through the different media.

Diversifying the sources of information can open the perspectives of a society that tends to polarize rather quickly, a society like the Colombian one. It is therefore necessary to try to understand the background of how information is produced and disseminated because from there we can counter discourses of confusion and discomfort for society.

Chicas Poderosas, Facebook and Consejo de Redacción carry out training on fact checking and verification of data for journalists.

On February 27, 2018 Facebook, Consejo de Redacción and Chicas Poderosas offered a workshop on fact checking, the verification of data for more than 80 Colombian journalists.

The event, held in Bogotá, featured presentations by Pablo Fernández, director of Consejo de Redacción of the Chequeado team, Nic Días, researcher of First Draft, a project of Harvard University that fights misinformation; Miriam Forero, editor of, a project of the network of Colombian investigative journalists Editorial Board; and Lia Valero and Eliana Vaca from Chicas Poderosas Colombia.

“It is important to expand the verification of data. If we are more media checking and contrasting what the candidates say, more citizens will be correctly informed, more will be clear if they are telling lies or not, and more those who have a critical attitude. That should be reflected in a more solid democracy and in a more conscious vote, “said Forero.

Why is verification important? As Nic commented as part of his presentation, 71% of journalists use social networks to find new stories and ideas but only 11% know how to do fact checking on these platforms.

During the day, First Draft presented tools for the verification of photographs and videos for use in media, as well as social monitoring tools. Chequeado, on the other hand, shared its work methodology and processes in data checking projects.

For Pablo Fernández, in Latin America it is key to consult alternative sources. That is, anyone who produces data and is relatively respectable.

“We try to be and seem balanced so that they do not call us Kirchnerists or Macrists because there is a part of the public that is very polarized,” Fernandez said.

As an example of official or alternative sources, he mentioned unions, study centers, municipalities, district governments, the World Bank, think tanks or universities.

Chequeado is interested in strengthening democracy through the defense of the right to information and verification of public discourse. His method consists of 8 steps:

  1. Select a checkable phrase

  2. Ponder your relevance

  3. Consult the original source

  4. Consult the official source

  5. Consult alternative sources (it is key in Latin America!)

  6. Put in context

  7. Confirm, relativize or deny

  8. Qualify

“Part of Chequeado’s work is to think that the reader can check ourselves as well,” said Fernandez.

For Juan Esteban Lewin, Subeditor of La Silla Vacía, it is important to understand that there are limits with official figures. However, what matters most when publishing a verification is to arrive at a macro conclusion so that we do not remain in the detail of each statement and its status of truth or falsehood. “You have to look for the statement to the full speech,” he said as part of the workshop.

The team of El Poder de Elegir in Colombia, is integrated by journalists and designers from different areas and regions of Colombia, interested in participating actively in the information processes of the country.

This type of training allows the decentralization of information. We can bring women from different regions to learn about verification, knowledge not available in their regions, and so we can strengthen data and investigative journalism at the local and national level.

For Margareth Sánchez, member of the team of El Poder de Elegir, these spaces are important for the journalistic work because they provide more tools and ideas to develop works in the media and in a regional context.”In each territory there are characters and information that must be checked and verified to help people make decisions with data in context, “said Margareth.

Daian Muñoz, designer and member of the team of El Poder de Elegir believes these workshops are important because communication problems no longer obey to a particular niche, but require human teams capable of thinking and dimensioning them in their complexity. “This constantly invites us to think about content, supports, users no longer in a unidirectional plane. For that reason, graphic designers contribute meaning insofar as we visualize discourses not from a neutral place, but involved in processes of conceptualization and formalization in accordance with a political way of reading the realities of the contexts we inhabit, “said Daian.

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