This profile was prepared when Juanita Leon was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
La Silla Vacia is an online news platform combining professionally reported political analysis, high-level discourse, expert blogging, and citizen journalism. Informed by diverse perspectives and designed to involve a new generation in political debate, it has rapidly emerged as a credible and authoritative alternative to Colombia’s entrenched traditional media.Juanita sees the Internet as an opportunity to establish a new journalism model. La Silla Vacia is not interested in reporting the news of the moment as most conventional media do. It is focused on telling the story behind the news. By connecting the facts and doing in-depth interpretation and analysis of news with an appealing narrative using new technologies, Juanita is engaging citizens with the most urgent and relevant matters. Accompanying the work of professional journalists, La Silla Vacia website also features opinion articles from decision-makers, professional experts from the most important research institutes and universities, young leaders, and the community. Its sources are diverse and highly reliable: Actors from the left, the right, and the center participate.Juanita is working to provide well-balanced information and poignant analysis that contributes to forming critical thinking among Colombians and especially among the youngest generations. She is promoting civic participation by inviting people to collaborate in co-writing articles or covering news after giving them coaching. Juanita’s goal is to open public debate to new voices and to change the polarized panorama of Colombian politics.