DataBase: open data and investigative journalism

February 17, 2015

The Costa Rican digital newspaper officially launched DataBase during the Amelia Rueda radio program aired February 9th. DataBase is a platform combining data journalism with investigative journalism and tech development to make public information more accessible to citizens.

This initiative supported by the Hivos Media & Accountability Program in Latin America, aims to promote transparency and accountability through features and in-depth investigations. “We will show you – citizens and users of – the information underlying our investigative reports through interactive displays that allow the comparison of different variables and by facilitating the downloading of data. To this aim, and for the first time in the country, a media organization is providing the public an ‘API’, an application programming interface,” Editor-in-Chief Antonio Jiménez said in a press statement.

DataBase’s first report was a six-month investigation of the buildings rented by the Executive Branch. It revealed connections between government rentals, corporations and donations given to political parties from 2009 to 2015. 

Cristian Cambronero, a well-known Costa Rican blogger, wrote on his Facebook account: “This is journalism: relevant, revealing, incisive. With a solid method and innovative approach. No more shallow headlines, taken out of context, sensationally chasing after likes with shock value, and based on superficial facts!”

Amelia Rueda made clear that the data they analyze “will not always reveal irregularities, but the analysis and outreach Database provides will contribute to promote greater citizen control over the use of public resources”.

DataBase is one of the twelve cutting-edge proposals selected in the first call for proposals of the Media and Accountability Program in Latin America. This initiative represents Hivos’ strategy to support powerful ideas, where technology pushes for increased transparency and accountability amongst those in power.