Colombia Investigative Journalism

Creating a cross border investigative team to fact check elections in Colombia

By on August 26, 2017

On August 10th, 11th and 12th, Chicas Poderosas Colombia worked with more than 40 participants, mainly women from different Colombian territories, to decide how to cover the next presidential election day of 2018 and build a collaborative network of journalists eager to cover in real time voting.

What are the forgotten topics of the electoral agenda?, How to detect the false news and avoid the misinformation ?, How to follow the money of the campaigns? These were some of the questions that emerged during the workshop.

Claire Wardle, director of First Draft, and Nic Días, a data and computer expert, shared incredible information, verification techniques on social networks using the Python programming language. For two days, the attendees became familiar with the language to do data mining. Maria Teresa Ronderos, director of the independent journalism program at the Open Society Foundation, was another powerful participant in the event she shared as a mentor, valuable notes in her experience as a journalist in Colombia.

We also had the chance to learn from Juan Pablo Marin, co-founder and CEO of Random Monkey who shared data journalism tools from his Datasketch portal and talked about the democratization of open data. Olga Lucia Lozano was another of our great mentors, who is recognized for her innovative digital projects and was sharing about En Modo P. Tatiana Velásquez, a journalist for La Silla Vacía Caribe made wonderful contributions from a regional perspective and the panelists of the “Electoral Observation Mission” accompanied all the sessions as a guide to know the electoral calendar and how to cover elections in Colombia.

This meeting was possible thanks to OXFAM who also join us to talk about their work in Colombia.

The three days of creative process and networking went beyond expectations: to bring together a diverse group of women and men, with different skills – journalists, mathematicians, designers, photographers, political scientists, among others – to work together, accept change and celebrate the possibility to develop new projects.

After the experience of working with Claire and Nic, Chicas Poderosas Colombia understood the power and the need to gather a collaborative network of women spread throughout the different territories, to meet to verify the news related to the elections, which will emerge during the next nine months before the election day.
Several networks of collaborative journalism in the country have approached Chicas Poderosas Colombia to join efforts to make this collaborative research network a reality, so more journalists and students will have the opportunity to be invited in moment so important for the future of the country.

Chicas Poderosas Colombia has begun something important that will lead many women to be part of how to tell this story: the Colombian elections.
Stay tuned to what these Chicas Poderosas will be able to make happen.

Thanks for your strength: Ambassadors of Chicas Poderosas Colombia: Lia Valero, Teresita Goyeneche, Eliana Vaca, Claudia Baez, Mayra Baez, Maria Paula Martinez, without you none of this would be possible!

Video credits from Eliana Vaca.

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