Chilean web project wins cash prize in Knight News Challenge

The Poderopedia website is aimed at boosting transparency by exposing conflicts of interest among Chile’s wealthiest and most powerful people.

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An innovative new media project aimed at promoting greater transparency in Chilean public life has been declared a winner in the prestigious Knight News Challenge.

The brainchild of journalist Miguel Paz and web developer Héctor Vergara, Poderopedia (or Powerpedia) will host an online database of the links between decision makers and power brokers in the South American nation.

Poderopedia will use graphic representations to reveal the connections among the most influential people, companies and institutions in a bid to expose conflicts of interests.

The site will draw on editorial research and crowd-sourced information that will be corroborated by professional journalists before being posted.

Postings on the site will include an editorial summary and a graphic map outlining the relationships among Chile’s elites, along with links to relevant information sources.

The project is a natural progression for Paz, who is currently the deputy editor of Chilean news website El Mostrador.

Poderopedia was one of 16 winners in the international competition aimed at supporting innovative digital news projects from across the globe.

Organized by the Knight Foundation, the competition awards grants of up to US$5 million to winners to help them further their creative ideas.

This year, Google lent its support to the program, contributing US$1 million to the prize pool.