HacksLabs announces Transparency & Accountability Challenge 2014 for Latin America

Nov 42014


Media entrepreneur Mariano Blejman founded HacksLabs, Latin America's first data journalism accelerator, earlier this year as part of his ICFJ Knight Fellowship. The idea for HacksLabs "came from years of frustration and wasted energy," Blejman wrote in April. "A large number of organizations are emerging whose worthwhile creations are not gaining the traction or audience they deserve. This is, we think, the niche of HacksLabs, a convergence point between communities, media and finance that can generate long-term value."

Following its first round of investment in Latin American news innovation, the incubator announced on Friday its second competition, the HacksLabs Transparency & Accountability Challenge 2014, in the press release below.

HacksLabs Transparency & Accountability Challenge 2014

Latin America’s first data journalism accelerator has launched the HacksLabs Transparency & Accountability Challenge 2014 with US$75,000 in investment and support for partnerships of media organizations, technology groups and civil society organizations. The goal is to help organizations develop innovative news projects that use or scale existing technologies, or create new technologies focused on transparency and accountability in Latin America.

This Challenge is made ​​possible with support from Hivos' Media Transparency and Accountability Program for Latin America; the Latin American Civic Innovation Fund, an initiative of Avina Americas, Fundación Avina and Omidyar Network; and the International Center for Journalists' (ICFJ's) Knight International Journalism Fellowships. The Challenge also has the continued support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the World Bank Institute, as well as mentoring from Knight-Mozilla Open News. HacksLabs seeks to support, with funding, development and implementation support, projects that combine civic technology, data journalism and citizen engagement, and connect with the broader open data movement.

With this initiative, we seek to support partnerships among media and civil society organizations and technologists to create and implement transparency and accountability news tools or to use and scale existing ones. Target countries: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Examples of possible projects:

NEWS APPLICATIONS

· Small applications that enable the audience to engage with data to answer questions and take action

TOOLS FOR ANALYSIS, SCRAPING, VISUALIZATION, ETC.

· Computer software to facilitate data analysis, opening or recovery of data, visualization, etc.

​OPEN DATA PLATFORMS

· Web systems that collect, organize and / or facilitate the work with open data

All project proposals must contain a real-world implementation plan that includes generating news content.

How it works:

The winners will receive cash and in-kind support of up to US$25,000. As part of the support, HacksLabs will contribute to the development and implementation of prototype data journalism or the growth of existing initiatives by providing:

• Data fellows that will be embedded in winning partner organizations to help develop these projects and integrate them into the organization’s management and workflows.

• Mentoring and guidance from experts on the development process, the conceptual design of the product and its functionalities and/or user experience.

• Testing, review and advice from the communities of Hacks/Hackers in Latin America.

• Blogs and product presentations featuring the projects at industry conferences.

• Access to new business opportunities, funding and / or subsidies.

• The network of HacksLabs mentors consists of experts and pioneers from ICFJ, the Knight Foundation, Knight-Mozilla Open News, the World Bank Institute. All the code and data used and produced in the project will be released in open formats.

How to Apply:

To nominate your proposal, go to hackslabs.org and click “Apply.”

When is the deadline to apply?

All applications must be received by Friday, November 28, 2014. Winners will be announced late December 2014.

Who is eligible?

• Media and civil society organizations that produce news content

• Lead partner must be based in Latin America

• Ability to contribute resources to the projects, including cash and/or in-kind

• Experience and willingness to work in partnerships and promote collaborative processes

• Experience in Web 2.0 application development and design, preferably with civic emphasis

• Demonstration of adequate team with offline-online skills

Profile of eligible projects:

• Projects with potential impact in one or more of the following countries: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela

• Project development and implementation timelines of four to six months

• Projects with specific technology components (software)

• Projects based on partnerships between media, tech groups and companies, and civil society organizations

• Projects focus on urban areas and cities (with more than 1 million population)

• Sustainability potential

• Scalability potential

• Replicable in other Latin American cities

• Promotes free, open-source technologies and open-data

• Clear performance evaluation plan (metrics, indicators)

• Likely to have an impact on society, particularly in terms of transparency and accountability.

Applications that can be supported:

  1. News apps

  2. Adaptation of existing technologies

  3. Scaling of existing technologies

Visit the website hackslabs.org for access to the full version of guidelines, criteria and FAQ (frequently asked questions) related to the challenge.

What is HacksLabs Transparency & Accountability Challenge 2014?

The acceleration of projects under this program is designed to promote and expand the innovation ecosystem in media, access to public information, open government, citizen engagement and transparency, all through the use of digital technologies. This challenge is supported through a grant from Hivos’ Media, Transparency and Accountability Program for Latin America and the Latin American Civic Innovation Fund, an initiative of Avina Americas, Fundación Avina and Omidyar Network that aims to bridge the gap between civic movements and technology, supporting innovations that accelerate social change in Latin America. Winners will be decided by a jury represented by Avina, Hivos, ICFJ and the World Bank Institute.

What is HacksLabs?

HacksLabs is an accelerator of data journalism and online news projects that runs annual challenges that award micro-grants and mentoring to initiatives combining open data and media innovation. It is part of the Program for Innovation in News for Latin America, developed in collaboration with the International Center For Journalists (ICFJ), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the World Bank Institute, Knight-Mozilla Open News and the Hacks/Hackers LATAM program.