2016 Winner

The Silence of the Innocents

Correio Newspaper

Salvador, Brazil

Category Digital Audience Usage and Engagement

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

From the beginning of this project, the main objective of the work was to present a wide-ranging journalistic investigation (in this case, about the theme of "rape") – but in an innovative way, experimenting with new narrative forms, new interactions, and new reader engagements with the content. Since the project’s conception, our focus was on doing as much as possible to bring the reader close to the stories – or even put him or her inside the stories – and create impact through UX innovation geared towards journalism. We wanted the content to be presented, consumed, and assimilated in new and surprising ways, in order to make an impact, provoke discomfort, produce reflection, and encourage mobilization. This also changed the form of production and investigation. For this purpose, we highlight a special team in the editorial process, which was exclusively dedicated to the project and the new ideas for four months.

We wanted to give the readers an idea of a rape victim’s suffering. The phrases that are incessantly repeated were one way to do this – in a manner of speaking, of course. The repetition produces a disturbing effect that the user cannot interrupt – just as the victims could not interrupt the rapes.

We wanted to provoke reflection effectively. The solution was to surprise the reader with the absence of the word “no” – which would be the most “common” response – on a poll.

We wanted the reader to realize that rape happens on every corner. The solution was to visit all the city’s police stations and make a map of the city with 115 incidents.

We wanted the woman also to be able to speak through our work. The solution was to create a collaborative map.

We wanted the reader to know how much the work mobilized us internally. The answer was the podcasts.

All of this work was also innovative in the way it was investigated and produced. The journalists had to use tools that they had not mastered previously. They had to not only get stories from victims, but also people who would be willing to read them. They had to find out not only about the incidents, but also their exact location for the map. They had to work in a team with video editors and a web designer, respond to readers on social media, etc.

Results for this campaign

One day after the end of the series, the Public Ministry of the State of Bahia held a public hearing based on the information from the project, and opened a civil investigation to look into the rape cases and the network of assistance to women in the state. The hearing was attended by prosecutors, secretaries, and ex-secretaries, in addition to reporters, editors, and social leaders. The event was broadcast online and watched by around 450 people. During the same week, the series was praised in the Federal Senate for its high quality and notable contribution to the discussion about violence against women in the country.

In one month, the series was viewed more than 100,000 times. We credit a large part of the impact to the innovations that we made in the user experience (UX) of the website, as applied to journalism. The most striking innovation in this sense was the feature of the victims’ phrases repeating incessantly, without the possibility of interruption. It was a feature that was technically simple to implement, and although initially it might seem like a negative element to the UX, it is very strongly aligned with the narrative and journalistic objectives of effectively provoking discomfort. Another striking innovation is the poll which doesn’t have the option to reply “no” to the question, “Have you ever been raped?” – to which more than 90 people replied “yes.”

In addition, we saw significant results from the careful presentation of the content (videos, audio with stories, podcasts with the reporters’ impressions).

All of this content served to provoke questioning on a personal level. We received hundreds of messages from readers who began to reflect about their own experiences.

The mobilization was so great that, based on this work, we joined a partnership with the NGO Think Olga (one of the most active in the country in fighting violence against women), through the “No More Catcalling" campaign. We made a collaborative map available, where women could report cases of violence.


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