2021 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Newsroom finalist

Agência Pública

About the Project

In 2020-2021, Agência Pública produced and published an independent, investigative and relevant coverage of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil, as well as the violations of human rights committed by the Bolsonaro administration.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we’ve had to face the challenge of producing investigative journalism without going in the field, not being able to do on-the-ground investigations and interviews, a practice that has always been at the core of our work. Besides doing interviews remotely, we also invested in reporting using data. In this way, it was possible to keep investigating the violations of the traditional peoples of the Amazon’s rights and the agents that destroy the forest. We revealed that fires ravaged almost half of indigenous territories in Brazil’s Pantanal and that illegal farms on indigenous lands were getting whitewashed under Bolsonaro administration.

We also produced data investigations that show the intensification of inequalities during the pandemic. We revealed, for example, that the number of black people who died of Covid-19 in Brazil was five times higher compared to white people. Due to his work producing data journalism at Agência Pública, our data editor and multimedia reporter Bruno Fonseca is among the finalists for the Sigma Awards 2021. Just last week, our work was cited in an article by Eva Constantaras, Anastasia Valeeva for the website as a good example of how to explore data to produce powerful journalistic investigations.

Last October, our coverage of the covid-19 pandemic received a special commendation from Premio Roche de Periodismo en Salud. The same month, we published a special called “”Once Upon a Time in the Land of Chloroquine””, which showed how – encouraged by Jair Bolsonaro’s public promotion of an alleged “”early treatment”” for Covid-19 – the governments of 10 brazilian cities adopted the use and distribution of inefficient drugs as public policy, This series was the result of engagement reporting conducted by Agência Pública, in which we gathered accounts by our readers through an online form… This series provided an overview of the adoption of treatments with no proven effectiveness by local governments in different parts of Brazil and it also shows the effects of Jair Bolsonaro’s speeches.

In june 2020, Pública launched a tool that assembles all impeachment petitions against Jair Bolsonaro ever submitted. For each new petition, our team publishes a summary of its content, an interview with the author and the official document that has been sent to the Chamber of Deputies. It is an innovative tool that allows citizens to access all of the impeachment petitions in one single place. Bolsonaro is the target of the largest number of impeachment requests among all presidents in brazilian history, with 120 requests

In May 2021, Agência Pública celebrated 10 years of existence. Over this period, we have received more than 50 national and international awards, such as the 2016 Gabo Awards —the most important recognition for journalism in Ibero-America — and the 2020 Ortega y Gasset Awards.