By Felipe Estefan and Gabriela Hadid

Betting on the most promising news organisations in Latin America

Latin American citizens from Chile to Colombia are currently taking to the streets to demand that their governments hear their voice. In places from Mexico to Venezuela, journalists are being threatened and killed just for reporting what is happening in their communities. In Brazil, the National Federation of Journalists estimates that the federal government attacks the press once every three days. In Argentina, political leaders at the highest level are delegitimizing the role of journalists investigating and uncovering corruption. 

At a moment in which Latin American democracy is under threat, the region needs a vibrant free press that will inform citizens and hold the powerful to account. 

That is why Luminate created Velocidad, a first-of-its-kind accelerator designed to support independent news media in Latin America, led by SembraMedia and ICFJ

Earlier this year, Velocidad set out to find the 10 most promising independent media outlets in Latin America to award them $1.5M in funding and 1,600 hours of consulting services to help them build stronger, more sustainable organizations. 

Velocidad received over 350 applications, a clear sign of the booming independent media ecosystem in Latin America. The number of qualified applicants was particularly impressive given journalists throughout the region continue to be the targets of vicious attacks, ranging from unwarranted lawsuits to death threats. 

Even in a context full of such challenges, journalists across Latin America have created incredibly impressive media outlets that are experimenting with sustainability models and with new ways to gather and share the stories that matter most. 

In such a vibrant ecosystem, the 10 organizations that Velocidad has selected represent the very best that Latin America has to offer. From courageous journalists conducting investigative reporting in Cuba, to organizations experimenting with podcasting and membership models in Argentina, Velocidad has chosen 10 organizations that have the potential to become the kind of independent voices the region needs most at this moment. 

The 10 winners of Velocidad are: 

At Luminate, we believe strongly in the role of a free press to give people the information they need to participate in the issues shaping their lives. We also believe that a vibrant media sector is critical to building more democractic and inclusive societies. As such, we are proud to support Velocidad and to support these 10 media organizations that are models of the transformational impact that the free press can have in Latin America.