Back in February 2014, Venezuelan journalists Mary Avilés, Ana María Carrano and Martín Quiroga, currently living in Silicon Valley, were frustrated with trying to find out what was really happening back home. After first protests that month, Twitter had become the last independent channel for information and everyone was using it — the government, the opposition officials, journalists and citizens. At the rate of 1,000 tweets per hour, their contradictory reports parrying on cell phone screens and it was hard to figure out who to believe.
Avilés, Carrano and Quiroga are or have been John S. Knight Foundation fellows. Along with Douglas Gómez, Ana María Carrano's husband, after intense weeks, and having recruited some additional team members, they rapidly built and launched Venezuela Decoded, an online platform to help people make sense of conflicting accounts about that country’s ongoing civil unrest that have been flooding social media:
What I hope for Venezuela Decoded is to became a reference site for international audience and media about the Venezuelan conflict, a kind of a landing page,” Aviles said. […] “I believe we can contribute leveraging the power of social media in journalism.”