El Pitazo

El Pitazo is Venezuela's main independent news website. The name "pitazo" refers to the colloquial notion of reporting irregularities, therefore the news agency intends to be an informative platform where irregularities aren't swept under the rug. They contacted Angel Lacret, Chief of Product Development of Cobuild Lab to transform this idea into a software product.

We started the Cobuild Process during the initial meetings for its first stage:validating the idea, in other words, making sure the project is viable and continuing with the Cobuild stage in which we would be developing its MVP (Minimum Viable Product). The main goal of the project consisted of creating a software solution that would give users the possibility of having up-to-date news available in the palm of their hands with no restrictions.

The Challenge

The real challenge lies in the restrictions arbitrarily imposed by the Venezuelan government on some print, audiovisual and digital media, including El Pitazo, which website is currently blocked throughout the national territory.

  • We had to develop a software solution capable of overcoming all the restrictions imposed in Venezuela and that would also have a user-friendly interface with an eye-pleasing design and a very intuitive user experience.
  • Since El Pitazo is a digital news media, it was crucial that the product simultaneously displayed the same information posted on the web platform.
  • Users had to be able to download and view content offline and share it through other channels or apps such as Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • We also had to build a system for the exclusive use of EL Pitazo's technical team, which would provide data on users' behavior and thus understand exactly who is interested in their content.

The Solution

Taking the above into consideration, we put together a team of the best developers, QA Analysts, and a Project Manager to create a roadmap to find the most suitable solution for the project. Due to restrictions in the country were carried through the domain as well as through the IP address, it was virtually impossible to implement a solution so people could have access to the platform with no problem.

El Pitazo’s audience is segmented into Venezuelans living in the country, Venezuelans living abroad, and foreigners interested in the news related to this country; which led us to find a proper solution for them. We then decided to build a Mobile App that would be compatible with both Android and iOS Operating Systems, since it was almost impossible for the Government to restrict an App, and this would allow users who live in the country to have full access to all the news by just downloading the App.

  • Since the web platform of El Pitazo was built using the WordPress development tool, we were able to extract the information from the website and transfer it into the app using either of two methods:
  • Making a scrapper of the website, which is a programming technique that allows us to extract information from any website.
  • Obtaining the data from the portal through the API (Application Programming Interface)offered by WordPress.
  • After assessing both of these methods, our team chose to go with the second approach and to work with the site's API.
  • The Project was developed with the JavaScript programming language, using the React-Native framework for the front-end development of the app, and for the back-end, we used the Node.js tool with the Express framework in the server part for the compilation and extraction of news from the API.

The Result

After some weeks of teamwork, it was possible to build a Mobile app that is compatible with any device connected to the net, capable of bypassing every restriction imposed by the Venezuelan government, to provide a channel of information for all the users in and out of the country.

  • The app has a very intuitive interface that remains loyal to the graphical line and brand personality of El Pitazo and can successfully extract all the information from the website to be simultaneously displayed in the app.
  • The platform allows users to easily access the information, download it, share it, and visualize it later offline.
  • We enable server administration which will be provided by our technical support department which will be responsible for keeping the application operating properly at all times, carrying out updates, and fixing any technical problems that may occur.
  • We also include a series of features by using Firebase which allows El Pitazo's technical team to track user traffic, click on advertising, and to measure user behavior and their content preferences.

In 2019 El Pitazo won the Ortega y Gasset Award for best multimedia coverage, for a report on hungry children, "The Hunger Generation" and it is currently part of the Latin American media of the Rebel Alliance alongside other major digital media such as Tal Cual and Runrunes. The mobile app is now available for both Android and iOS and has +10k downloads in the Play Store with a rating of 4.3/5.

  • Location: Caracas, Venezuela
  • News, Digital Media
  • Web Site: https://elpitazo.net/
El pitazo 3

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