With Impacto, Newsrooms Can Show, Not Just Tell, Why Their Work Matters

Strengthening Journalism: ICFJ Knight Fellow Pedro Burgos' is making it easier for newsrooms to communicate impact.

Strengthening Journalism: ICFJ Knight Fellow Pedro Burgos is making it easier for newsrooms to communicate impact.

News organizations eager to earn their communities’ trust and grow their revenue have a powerful new set of tools at their disposal: the Impacto platform. 

ICFJ Knight Fellow Pedro Burgos this week in Sao Paulo launched a public version of Impacto, a project backed by the Google News Initiative, which helps newsrooms and journalists better track, understand and demonstrate the impact of their reporting on communities and society.

Burgos, a Brazilian journalist and innovator, is pioneering new ways for media to track the societal impact of their journalism. As an ICFJ Knight Fellow, he is bringing Impacto to newsrooms in Latin America, the United States and Europe - where he aims to build a culture of impact tracking.

“We think that if newsrooms get better at collecting their impact, and communicating it to their audiences, it will strengthen trust in media and make a better case for why people should support journalism,” Burgos said.

In 2017, Burgos developed the private beta version of Impacto with the support of Google News Initiative. He worked with five prominent news organizations in Brazil to transform how they measure and communicate their impacts: Folha de S. Paulo, Gazeta do Povo, Veja, Nexo and Nova Escola. Two of these partners have already produced their first public reports that showcase their impact tracked through Impacto to their audiences: Folha de S. Paulo and Gazeta do Povo

“We’ve always been a local media organization,” said Gazeta do Povo Editorial Director Leonardo Mendes Jr. “With Impacto, we began to perceive and register how our content feeds the debate on national issues such as politics, economy, education and ideology.”

Newsrooms can use Impacto to discover where they have helped to shape opinions and inspire policy changes. They no longer have to manually search to see if they have been referenced. The platform automates the whole process by:

  • Reading pages from sessions of municipal, state and federal legislative chambers, searching for mentions of the news outlet; and
  • Combing through social networks, blogs and news sites to find mentions by influencers.

“We know of no other platform that does this for media,” said ICFJ Knight Fellowships Director Ben Colmery. “We believe it should significantly increase the ability for newsrooms to discover impact.”

After gathering this information, Impacto displays it on a single, user-friendly dashboard where news organizations can view the impact of their journalism all in one place. They can also record instances of impact that they gathered offline.

Burgos is building a coalition of Impacto media partners, with continuing support from Google News Initiative. He is also creating methodologies to guide media on how to track and communicate their impact. Impacto is available in English and Portuguese. The platform will launch a Spanish version soon. 

Interested in Impacto for your newsroom? Send an email to pedro@impacto.jor.br to learn more.