Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Colombia: Use Crowd Sourcing Technology to Track Crime and Corruption

Knight Fellow Ronnie Lovler helped journalists in Colombia to use crowd sourcing technology to cover 2011 elections and the issues that mattered most to citizens.

Knight International Journalism Fellow Ronnie Lovler helped El Tiempo, Colombia’s largest newspaper, develop a website that uses citizen reports to map crime in the capital city of Bogota. Modeled after a similar Fellowship project in Panama, citizens and citizen journalists post information on the map. Lovler trained El Tiempo journalists to use the map to identify trends and produce investigative stories about crime and violence.

Lovler also helped Consejo de Redaccion, a national investigative journalism group, launch a national map to track corruption, fed by reports from journalists and citizens.

Lovler created guides to teach citizens how to use these maps. During the October 2011 election, she helped El Tiempo use a map created by electoral monitors to collect citizens’ reports on voting irregularities. El Tiempo produced almost 20 stories documenting complaints of electoral fraud.

In May, Lovler started Hacks-Hackers Bogota, Colombia’s first chapter of the journalism-technology group, with nearly 100 members. The first project was creating a crowd-sourced map that shows environmental problems in the capital.