FARO - This project aims to create a direct communication channel between the audience and our newsroom, making it possible for our readers to submit information that can be changed by our journalists into news. The main purpose is to serve a population that lives in regions of Algarve underserved by media outlets.

The project aims to create a new tool in our website, with the feel and looks of a chat box, which will allow a new way to obtain relevant content for readers, increase engagement with the audience, in specific from news desert regions, verify the relevance of the information obtained, combat misinformation and improve the newsroom workflow, reducing time searching for information. The tool, as one of its main advantages, creates a new way to obtain verified news content. With this tool, a semi-automated chatbox, users can submit content and/or verify the accuracy of information regarding where they live.

When accessing the tool, a chatbot will ask the user whether they wish to submit information and/or verify its veracity. With the questions asked by the chatbot, such as “news location”, “time”, “description”, or whether the user has photographs and/or videos related to the topic, the editorial team obtains sufficient elements to decide if they are getting relevant content that can be published, after verification from the journalists, with official sources. This functionality creates a new source of information and opens a "door" to the population that has no direct access to media outlets where they live. It's a win-win kind of situation, because the newsroom is able to get more information from municipalities where there are no journalists, and the public gets a way to contact directly with a newsroom about what's happening around.

The tool will also have an information verification aspect. Users can use the tool to validate the information they submit. Based on a simple categorization system, in charge of the team that receives the submissions, they are classified into four categories: “for publication”, “for in-depth work”, “refused” or “false information”, with the user notified of the result of submission. This functionality thus plays an important role in combating misinformation, fake news and rumors.

Target group

We believe that, in general, all the population of the region that we cover will benefit from this project, considering the media scenery, but specifically the municipalities from the Algarve that have few or no media outlets settled in their area. Algarve has 16 municipalities, and 4 of them don't have any printed newspaper settled there. Talking about digital newspapers, this number grows to 8. There are also 5 councils that have no radios. To add to this, the media outlets that exist have really small teams, or even only one person working on them. This is really not much when considering that Algarve has half a million inhabitants, but its population grows three times more in the summer, because of tourists.

Considering this scenario, we believe that our project, that aims to create a direct comunication tool between population and newsroom, will increase, in one hand, the accessibility from that under served population to professional newsrooms and, in other hand, increase the ammount of information that our journalists get from this places increasing the media coverage of the issues that concern them.

Goals of the project

We believe that this project will help to grow engagement with the readers that don't have a direct way to contact media outlets, generating a sensation of proximity between our newspaper and the audience. We expect that when someone thinks that they have some information they will think about contacting our newspaper through this tool. We believe that we will to be able to produce more and better content about municipalities that are underserved by media outlets by creating this tool.

About the media outlet

Sul Informação was created on 26 September 2011. The idea came from three journalists: Elisabete Rodrigues, Hugo Rodrigues and Nuno Costa, who decided to join and build a unique and exclusively online newspaper. Sul Informação is a generalist regional newspaper recognized with many prizes such as National Prize of Inovation Journalism, in 2018, Best Online Regional Newspaper in Portugal, attributed by Altice, in 2018, or "Analyze Poverty in Media" Award in 2023.

€23.000 allocated on 31/10/2023

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.