Mapping Corruption with Journalists & Citizens
Ronnie Lovler is a Journalist working with Consejo de Redacción based in Colombia
The office of Colombia’s Attorney General said corruption was costing Colombia the equivalent of about $2.2 billion U.S. At the time Colombia had a budget of roughly $82 billion. Money lost to corruption could have built 100,000 homes for displaced and lower income Colombians. Who knows how many more schools or clinics or hospitals? This project aims to map out the root of the problem. We’re inviting citizens to input data on corruption.
Heads up: This is just a snap shot of the vast amounts of corruption and crime reports that this project has collated in a short time frame. We encourage you to check out the live map to use the tool and learn more.
Watch the project
What makes our map unique in Colombia is our two-tiered reporting system that allows both journalists and citizens to submit reports about corruption. Our map provides a way for journalists to post their stories on the site and a tool that lets users monitor specific incidents of corruption and see whether there are patterns and similarities in the types of incidents.
We wanted to kick off the map with reports from journalists who are associated with the Consejo so we could provide context and texture for the start. We also believe that by posting stories on our site, we can visually create an image of the extent of corruption and the types of incidents that are most prevalent. We have made a start. In August, I travelled to three regional capitals where the Consejo has strong representation – in Manizales, Cali and Monteria. However, citizen participation is integral to the success of our project, and we recognize the need for collaborative and interactive efforts, by reaching out to community leaders. During my travels in August, we reached about 100 journalists, but we need to follow-up and if possible, extend our reach to other communities. We need funding to return to those cities and reach to journalists and to community leaders to talk about the map, and get more journalists and citizens engaged in collaborating with us on our interactive approach to tracking and monitoring corruption.
Our goal is to promote the map locally, perhaps by getting local media to embed it on their websites so that our national Monitor of Corruption it become a familiar tool in different communities. We also need to train professional journalists on using the map, to highlight their work, make it known to a wider audience, and to contribute to creating a picture of the whole.
Additionally, we expect the citizen reports to serve as a point of departure for journalists to engage in a deeper investigation of the incident reported. We think there are great possibilities for this kind of collaboration between citizens and journalists.
We also hope to use a part of these grant monies to strengthen the journalists' reports section by being able to designate someone to monitor national and local media in Colombia for corruption stories and add them to the map, so that we are as current as possible on corruption in the country.
What's happening Next?
Ronnie'll be travelling around Colombia to generate public support for her project. Do you know of stakeholders potentially interested in this project? Let us know! Write to us or tweet to @RonnieLov
How it Works
Ronnie has created a step by step guide to using the map (in Spanish), check it out to learn more.