La Ruta del Dinero, a regional hackathon

A day-long hackathon in 13 cities across Latin America + Miami allowed journalists and coders to follow where and how Latin American governments and corporations direct their funds.

  1. On June 7, "Journalists Day" in Argentina, 14 Hacks/Hackers chapters across Latin America (and Miami) gathered participants to work on projects that explore a simple question: Where does my money go?
  2. It was described as a "decentralized, collaborative Hacks/Hackers work marathon to know where, how and why public funds are used, as well as other questions you want to know..." These questions could range from "Who is buying your vote?" to "How are governments spending the money we pay in taxes?" Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires founder Mariano Blejman recently wrote on IJNet. He was among the organizers of the regional event.
  3. @YasGarcía, also from Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires asked: "Have you ever asked 'Where does my money go?'" She tweeted: #LaRutaDelDinero will bring "transparency and data to themes that many hide." 
  4. HackDash, a free platform for organizing collaborative projects, was used to organize project ideas for each of the participating chapters. Those were: Asunción (Paraguay), Bogotá (Colombia), Buenos Aires (Argentina), La Paz (Bolivia), Lima (Perú), Mendoza (Argentina), México City (México), Miami (USA), Montevideo (Uruguay), Rosario (Argentina), Sao Paolo (Brasil) and Santiago (Chile).
  5. "If you'd like to see all the projects being created at #larutadeldinero," Blejman said, "enter hackdash.org/projects #hhlatam #hhba."
  6. There were also incentives for participants: up to five projects will win US$2,000, and one project can take home a US$10,000 prize, provided by HacksLabs.org, the first data journalism accelerator in Latin America.
  7. As early as 7 a.m., participants began to arrive to get to work, like those seen here in La Paz, Bolivia. This was the chapter's first-ever Hacks/Hackers event.
  8. According to Argentine news agency Telam, close to 700 people participated in events across the 14 cities. 
  9. At most chapters, workshops opened the day, helping participants with themes like the use of tools for scraping data, data visualization and working in teams. In La Paz, participants learned to use Tabula and OpenRefine. 
  10. In Lima, journalist Fabiola Torres showed journalists how to develop a data investigation about the health sector.
  11. "Visual thinker" Jose Duarte "warmed up" the crowd in Bogota:
  12. Groups explored ideas and proposals, setting forth what they'd spend the day working on. Projects ran the gamut, from monitoring the use of public money in Mexico's Chamber of Deputies and Senate to exploring progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Bolivia. Here, participants in Guatemala shared ideas:
  13. A mid-day video conference allowed chapters to greet one another before  diving into their specific projects.
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