Spanish citizens are now a step closer to understanding how power operates in the country, and how decisions affect them, thanks to the work of organisations like Civio fighting for transparency and access to public data. In October their work was recognised with the Gabriel Garcia Marquez award in innovative journalism for their investigations Medicamentalia. In a guest post for OJB, Nuria Riquelme Palazón spoke with Javier de la Vega, one of the members of Civio.
Access to public information, accountability and participatory democracy may have been a reality in many countries for some time — but in Spain they sounded like a utopia. Entrepreneur Jacobo Elosua and computer technician David Cabo decided that this had to change.
The pair used their savings to build an organisation with the intention of serving those active citizens who, like them, believed in transparency: Civio Foundation.
As far as open data goes it wasn’t ideal: comparing councils involved manually downloading spreadsheets and combining them, unless you wrote a scraper to do that for you. Which is what I did last year while working with the Sunday Post on a series of stories.
But at least you had the data in some sort of raw format.
If you look for the data this year, however, you will find things a little more complicated:
In our latest interview with hyperlocal practitioners, Damian Radcliffe speaks to Mark Baynes from Love Wapping. A journalist, professional photographer and user experience designer; Mark explains how his mutual love of data and wildlife has manifested itself in this East London hyperlocal site.
Who are the people behind the blog?
Just me! Fortunately I have an odd mix of professional skills that are invaluable for hyperlocal work: photography, journalism, print production and web design and development. Continue reading →