CatComm Reporting Policy

Through RioOnWatch reporting and other media work, Catalytic Communities aims “to engender a more accurate picture of favelas, their contributions to the city, and the potential of favela-led community development in Rio and around the world.” We therefore work carefully to guarantee that everything we publish serves the featured communities and residents and serves to enhance the public debate on favelas. We…

  • Take a ‘do no harm’ approach which means following the lead of favela/community organizers in what we cover and how we cover it. We recognize that the situation we are working in is much more complex than we can possibly imagine, and we should do whatever we can to ensure we do not harm the lives of those we are attempting to help.
  • Prioritize stories, events, and initiatives for which favela/community residents request coverage. Prioritize perspectives that have been historically excluded or marginalized in media, and prioritize stories that fill gaps in other publications’ coverage.
  • Actively communicate RioOnWatch’s goals to contacts and encourage input, collaboration, and critical feedback.
  • Explicitly ask interviewees—before and after our interviews—if there are parts they do not want published, and respect their wishes.
  • Seek permission from community-based organizers before covering their events.
  • Send any article to the featured community individuals or organizations for their confirmation before publication in delicate situations or on request.
  • Make reasonable edits or in critical cases remove an article even after publication if requested by a featured community member or organization.

We offer support and contacts to journalists whose work we believe will also benefit the contacts in question and generally serve to enhance the public debate on favelas. We expect journalists to likewise respect those contacts’ wishes about what to publish, take active steps to ensure their work does no harm, and reflect carefully about the possible impacts of their work on their audience’s understandings of favelas in the context of the power dynamics between reporters and people from marginalized communities. When reporting on violence or threats affecting our contacts, journalists should seek the contacts’ confirmation on the content of their work before publication.

As such, before providing contacts, we ask journalists to agree to offer interviewees an opportunity to review the resulting content before publication when the topic pertains to violence or security. We will not work with journalists/researchers whose work contains serious inaccuracies, stigmatizing language or imagery, or content that puts our contacts’ work or lives at risk.

Contact us at press@catcomm.org for more information.