Maria Augusta Calle Andrade

Ashoka Fellow
Quito, Ecuador
Fellow Since 2001

Citation

This profile was prepared when Maria Augusta Calle Andrade was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
María Augusta has designed a new way to offer Ecuadorians high quality news. She has launched an independent source of news content that provides alternative perspectives on the issues of the day, as well as news that normally would not be covered. Her initiative, called Altercom, reaches poor areas and finds creative ways to help all Ecuadorian citizens stay informed. Altercom is an important addition in Ecuador where the commercial media report news in a narrow and biased way. Deliberately "alternative" news vehicles may offer fresh perspectives but tend to reach only a small, specialized, and already sympathetic audience.

Because María knows credibility and analytical capacity are critical to providing diverse coverage to a broad audience, she has recruited experts in various fields and professional journalists from the mainstream media. Moreover, Altercom's extensive database of articles and issues is available to all segments of society through a variety of outlets. As an example, existing newspapers and community radio stations–the only news source in many rural communities–are increasingly publishing and broadcasting Altercom's articles and adopting some of its methods to reach otherwise ignored markets.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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