In today’s world, events and challenges in the pueblos (towns) of Mexico can be felt as far away as Buenos Aires, Argentina and Washington, DC. For investigative journalists, there is now a need to reach beyond their immediate “beats” and across borders to truly investigate the depth of their stories — like a story on international bank malfeasance or a regional health crisis. To meet this growing need, a respected investigative journalist from Colombia, Carlos Huertas, created the Connectas Hub.
Connectas is a journalistic platform that works across the Americas to produce in-depth reports on issues and events shared beyond borders. Connectas builds the capacity of regional journalists through trainings, online workshops and a mentorship program that connects the more senior and experienced of their nearly 200 members to emerging journalists from across the Americas. By strengthening their skills in editorial direction and writing technique, and sharing best practices for investigative journalism, Connectas’ members can pursue and report on stories that have a greater impact.
Presenting at the Innovation Lab in Buenos Aires, Carlos explained, “The value of Connectas is that we bring together talents, abilities and experiences to construct collective investigative reports and journalistic models. In this way, we are changing what it means to follow the story in Latin America.” This is why he says that he believes Connectas is a natural fit for the Latin American and Caribbean Hub of Innovation for Change.
Similar to Connectas, Innovation for Change, a project supported by Counterpart International and Civicus, is a growing global network of people and organizations working to create innovative solutions beyond borders. Using online hubs and regional centers — in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa — Innovation for Change members use physical and virtual shared working spaces to connect, exchange ideas, debate issues and incubate solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Organizations and entrepreneurs like Carlos can find the teamwork, the fresh ideas and the confidence to bring their own vision to life through the hub community.
That teamwork will be on display at an upcoming collaboration between Connectas and Innovation for Change.
Connectas and the Latin American & Caribbean Hub of Innovation for Change will host the Communications Laboratory for 24 Latin American civil society organizations in Quito, Ecuador. Over three days, advocates will be trained on effective writing for advocacy campaigns, how to work with journalists, how to write for traditional versus digital media outlets and how to collaborate with one another to maximize their impact.
Additionally, a special open panel discussion will be held for journalists and civil society activists from closed civic spaces, or spaces where organizations and citizens face unnecessary challenges and restrictions on making their voices heard, like in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador. Focused on the opportunities inherent in the Open Government Partnership, the panel of experts will provide training on the OGP tools that assist advocates in their efforts to make their governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.
“It is important that Connectas works with Innovation for Change to train Latin American civil society organizations. By collaborating with others who work beyond borders, we can see the bigger picture. This will enable us all – journalists, technologists, civil society organizations and advocates – to collectively create new tools and models that promote inclusion, accountability and transparency in Latin America and beyond,” explained Carlos.
Reliable Reporting to Empower Civil Society
By building the capacity of investigative journalists throughout the region, Innovation for Change and Connectas are working to empower regional media to be reliable institutions of public trust. Counterpart International is proud to stand with Civicus in support of the Innovation for Change Project to strengthen the capacity of regional journalists to promote transparency and accountability and empower civil society.