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La Nación is Argentina’s second largest newspaper. When it comes to innovation, it is also one of Latin America’s leading news outlets.
The daily is part of an argentine media conglomerate, S.A. La Nación, with participation in U.S. media. In March, 2012, one of its subsidiaries – US Hispanic Media Inc.- became the controlling shareholder of Impremedia, the major hispanic news and information company in the U.S.
With a circulation of XXXX, La Nación also has a growing audience on the web: its site attracts 7,6 million unique visitors every month. Those numbers have been cause and effect of a series of projects carried by the organization in order to strengthen its digital presence. Its comprehensive strategy relies on the use of new technologies to attract readers (and interact with them) and to improve their reporting.
In 2007, lanacion.com became Argentina’s first news organization allowing comments on their stories. Two years later, the newspaper developed a system to rate its readers based on their participation. As a result, the registered users get “medals” (gold, silver and bronze) according to variables such as the average of daily comments and positive votes per comment.
The use of social media tools was another way to foster the interaction with its audiences. In 2009, the newspaper started encouraging its reporters and editors to use platforms like Twitter; now, it has more than 30 official channels on that social network and 160 journalists tweeting (with a combined audience of 500,000 followers). The news reporting also includes a network of 54 blogs, covering topics like gay issues, tango and crime.
Content, not only distribution, has been improved by technology at La Nación. In 2010, the newspaper started a project on data visualization led by reporters with little knowledge of programming but with a great in learning about it. Journalists, graphic designers and computer scientists worked together to understand how the tools work and how they could be use for reporting. After long sessions of workshops and online courses (after office hours), the team started with its first project: an report on Argentina’s Subsidies System for Transportation.
The investigation discovered that the subsidies (gas and cash) grew dramatically (up to $34 billion) during the past ten years, and it revealed the 20 companies that received more money from this system. The series of articles was published in La Nación’s printed version and on its website, where it is possible to access a visualization of the data.
Getting the data posed the biggest challenge, since Argentina doesn’t have a law that allows citizens access public documents, like Freedom of Information Act in the U.S. All the information used in this investigation had to be converted from PDF’s documents to CSV and Excel files and didn’t stop when the articles were published. The data has been updated every month and it is free (and downloadable) for the anyone who wants it.
Make data available is another goal of La Nacion. In march 2012, the newspaper launched an open data platform which makes official documents accessible and ready to be “reused” by the audience of lanacion.com.
Founded as La Nación Argentina in 1870, the newspaper changed its name to the actual one in 1945.
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