Knight News Challenge winner Poderopedia aims to map power in Chile (Interview with Miguel Paz)

Poderopedia, a way to look for and spread information about who has the power in Chile, has received $200,000 as one of the 16 winning projects of the Knight News Challenge 2011. Created by journalist Miguel Paz, assistant editor of El Mostrador, and by web developer Héctor Vergara, Poderopedia aims to be a database that will serve as a map of Chilean elites. The website will investigate and illustrate the connections among people, companies and institutions with the end goal of shedding light on any possible conflicts of interest. The information for the database will be obtained via collective participation, similar to Wikipedia, but will be investigated by professional journalists.

The Knight Center spoke with Miguel Paz about Poderopedia. For the complete interview in Spanish, see here.

What do you believe will be the main usefulness of this map for journalists?

We hope that it will serve as a basic document for their investigations, and that it will save them time as they use it to discover new layers of information that we in turn can cite in Poderopedia. For the media, it also can be a tool for enriching content. We see it as a win-win.

You've received financing of $200,000 from the Knight News Challenge. How will you use it to develop the project?

We hope to launch in approximately one year from the date the Knight News Challenge gave us the money. In practical terms, Poderopedia will function as an editorially curated database that maps the relationships between the powerful and keeps record of their actions and possible conflicts of interest. Poderopedia will be fed by crowdsourcing, or information provided by citizens, news published in the media, public access databases, and our own reporting about the most powerful persons, companies and organizations in Chile.

Read the rest of the interview in Spanish here.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.