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Documented Wins “Game-Changer” Award for WhatsApp Project

Documented publishes an award-winning WhatsApp newsletter aimed at New York’s Spanish-speaking undocumented immigrants.

Documented was awarded the Game-Changer Award for our work on WhatsApp by the Institute for Nonprofit News at the inaugural Nonprofit News Awards last week. 

The award recognizes newsrooms “that produced an innovative idea or practice that led to success in revenue, audience growth or sustainable financial support of news.” Documented won in the Medium Newsroom sub-category. 

Documented launched Documented Semanal, a weekly newsletter aimed at New York’s Spanish-speaking undocumented immigrants, in January 2019 following research into the information needs of this community. Over the past two and a half years, the number of subscribers to the WhatsApp community has grown and the community has become influential in Documented’s newsroom. Spearheaded by Documented’s Audience Director Nicolás Ríos, the news service has provided life saving information to undocumented immigrants living in New York City during the pandemic and become an industry leader for its innovative approach. 

The judges of the Nonprofit News Award said: “The project’s creative use of multiple out-of-the-box approaches, including layering in Facebook Live sessions with the rapid and direct responses provided via WhatsApp, showed a commitment to going where people are, rather than expecting them to come to a news source themselves.”

Last year, Documented was awarded an Online Journalism Award for our use of WhatsApp during the pandemic. 

Ríos has written extensively about the newsroom’s use of WhatsApp on Documented’s Medium page, you can read more at the links below:

How our “community-oriented approach” grew our audience

Documented’s Methodology for Community-Guided Content

How we changed our pandemic coverage thanks to our audience

How we used a people-centered approach to build trust and become part of a community

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