Project description

La Nación Data is the data journalism unit from LA NACION in Argentina. We do Open Data Journalism for change, in order to better serve our audiences using data to recognize trends and controversies, reveal a truth or simply to concieve a deeper vision of reality by discovering and telling stories. We promote the use of open data and access to information in Argentina as evidence to keep governments accountable.
Hence, we constantly monitor the use and abuse of public resources in order to strengthen public institutions and enhance greater government transparency.
Much of our work and effort is invested in building datasets from scratch, cleaning, structuring and normalizing to make them accessible for our newsroom and other argentinean users. But our objective is also to produce long-term investigations that encompass a multiplicity of topics of interest with the intention of producing a political and social impact.
So, we believe that all citizens should participate in activating the demand for public information as a democratic principle and human right. This is why it is very important for us to embrace citizen\’s collaboration in the process of journalism. We are dedicated to teach civil society the value of openness and to build an open community by strengthening our relationship with NGOs and universities through hackathons, meetups and workshops.

What makes this project innovative?

Coherence, openness and workflow. We work always in teams with journalists and interactive designers because every member has their own unique strengths and skills which complements the abilities of the others. We all have a shared purpose which is to do something meaningful through remarkable journalism that improves people’s lives and generates understanding and knowledge. Working by projects and in groups makes LA NACION not dependent on one person or section. We implemented distributed processes based on skills and job description which accelerated the work flow. All of our members have a “data aware” mindset that is transferred daily to all the journalists in the newsroom. We consider ourselves an initiative for innovation in journalism as all of our work is based in technology, data, openness and teamwork. We provide datasets or analysis for investigations, we participate in hacktivism and open data communities and we think every application or data platform as reusable as possible. Our recent innovative techniques include data science and automated content.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

We measure our success internally using metrics, analytics and score. Our content is seen as an aggregate value at LA NACION because all of our projects made the top scored ranking of the year. The newsroom developed a private score measure that includes multiple variables: the % of clicks based on the amount of unique browsers of our site, the average reading time, the amount of interactions and others.
Besides analytics, we algo innovated with several monetization data apps that gave us the opportunity to work with commercial teams and obtain more resource to continue with our work flow.
Furthermore, we are considered in Argentina as watchdogs for transparency and openness. This is why, most of our investigations are part of judicial evidence in Federal Court, specially in corruption cases. Our impact is so strong that for example this year, for the Corruption Notebook scandal investigation 73 individuals have been prosecuted (40 have been imprisoned and several continue and another 90 businessmen are waiting for prosecution), including a former President, the entire office of the Ministry of Planning and the main public works contractors of the country. About 40 persons repented and confessed their crimes and US$ 600 million were seized.
Finally, after organizing four Datafests and the WIDS: Woman in data science conference in Argentina, our team is also considered pioneer in applying technologies to solve data and content problems, specially from unstructured data and a reference in the local tech for journalism community.

Source and methodology

AN INTEGRATED WORKFLOW to optimize research and use of multiple sources and team work for collecting data, analysing and visualising projects. It is all about planning, creating and investigating. All ideas are valid and we motivate all the members to identify new technologies and trends to implement in our newsroom. We never get tired of learning something new, so we assist to several trainings and hackathons to engange with the open community. Internally, every monday we have our Data team meeting, and every day a 10 minutes stand up meeting. Also, one member of our team participates in the morning newsroom meeting, producing or facilitating data solutions for all LA NACION platforms, including TV. On a weekly basis we meet with dataviz and editorial team in our “weekly planning” meeting. We participate in metrics and analytics team and in the “new formats” team also in weekly basis

Technologies Used

PostgreSQL., Amazon Web Services: EC2, Lambdas, API Gateway, S3, RDS and Cloudwatch, MySQL, sqlite, Docker, Vagrant, Git, vue.js, express.js, node, leaflet.js, mapbox, cartodb, flask, fabric, VB .Net, ByteScout, iMacros, OneDrive, Python, Nitro PDF, Tabula PDF, Open Refine, Excel, Google Spreadsheets, Qlikview, Google Spreadsheets, API, Json, CSV and Javascript. Tableau Public

Project members

Momi Peralta Ramos, Ricardo Brom, Florencia Coelho, Bianca Pallaro, Gabriela Bouret, Romina Colman, Gabriela Miño, Florencia Rodríguez Altube, Nicolás Bases, Cristian Bertelegni, Pablo Loscri, Gastón De la Llana, Mariana Trigo Viera, Nicolás Rivera, Florencia Fernández Blanco

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