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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Citizens' reports: A guide to crowdsourcing websites in Latin America



From elections in Brazil to mapping power in Chile to a stand-in for Wikipedia in the United States, journalists throughout the Americas are using crowdsourcing to cover the news. The Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) noted that crowdsourcing, or turning to a large group of citizens to perform a task that normally would be done by an individual, has "become a popular method for citizen participation" that allows "users to report crimes anonymously...due in part to violence against witnesses and journalists."

The AS/COA has compiled a list of crowdsourcing websites across Latin America.

The list includes sites from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. Many of these sites allow users to anonymously report crime and see where crime occurs. For example, the Mapa Delictivo (Crime Map) in Mexico, created by the newspaper El Universal, maps reports of crimes throughout Mexico City; and the Disque Denúncia (Dial To Report a Crime) in Brazil uses phone calls, Twitter and a blog to map crime.

Also on the list is Mi Panamá Transparente (My Transparent Panama), created by Knight International Journalism Fellow Jorge Luis Sierra, which allows citizens to report crimes via email or text messages. For more information about this crowdsourcing site, see this guest post from Jorge Luis Sierra, in which he says the "project’s main idea is to have citizen reports investigated by journalists and that stories and features are published and broadcast based on this information. Ultimately, this can improve the quality of investigative journalism in Panama and open new paths for collaboration between journalists and citizens."



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