Amid the most important anti-government protests that Venezuela had in 2017, news media organizations were heavily censored. Journalists were harassed, their content was erased by authorities and some were apprehended temporarily. The repressive environment wasn’t good for journalism.
Neither was for citizens. Although a part of the population kept informed, there was another part of it kept apathetic with national news. This happened, in part, because the protests and human rights violations reports became almost daily.
Considering this picture, we created a newsletter to summarize national events curating news, called “Arepita”. Its name is the diminutive of “arepa”, a daily local plate, common in breakfast and dinner. The idea was to turn the newsletter into that nutritive and informative breakfast to start the day. It is sent Monday to Friday in the morning.
It has three sections. “Relleno”, maybe the most important section, which holds the news summary written in a close, creative and colloquial way, to report with details the previous day events. Sometimes it has humor, too. Every mentioned event has a link to a national or international news media organization, for those people who want to know more about the topic. However, we ensure we explain the news widely, in case the reader can’t open any links due to blocked portals, or due to limited internet access.
After that, we have “Masa”. A section to explore in-depth a featured news story. Many times we interview people and gather data for it. It is also an experimental section: We made a series which invited leaders to write about the state of politics or experts to explain specific subjects. Last year we initiated a permanent opinion space on Mondays in which Venezuelan migrants communicate perspectives on their new countries. Masa is the place of Arepita’s own agenda.
The last section is “Concha”. Generally, it is a video or image, or we tell an event that was funny or ironic, which can create questions and thoughts about a topic among the community. We finish the newsletter with a final sentence that usually is an article or long-interview to give perspectives and a last bite which invites readers to optimism.
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