Photo from CatComm's Born in Vidigal series, by Iman Ahmed

The spotlight afforded by the Olympics brings with it the opportunity to set the record straight on Rio’s favelas and end pervasive stigma with productive, nuanced coverage.

We put a call-out to our extensive network of favela leaders in Rio and have compiled a contact list with leaders interested in receiving journalists, along with a map of those leaders’ locations across the city. The contact list includes information on the stories they want to tell—the topics they believe deserve international coverage. Over coming weeks we will be expanding this list and updating the map.

Community Leader MapFor general city-wide context information, translation support to interview community leaders or to arrange an interview with urban planner and CatComm’s executive director, Theresa Williamson, please email us

See our full Olympics Resources for Journalists here.

We organized a similar list of community contacts for journalists during the 2014 World Cup. Here’s what some of the participating leaders said afterwards:

  • “It was a great initiative to change the international image of Rio as a violent city.”
  • “Excellent! Just the opportunity to reflect on our own community is really great.”
  • “Great, because we really have to show the world what effect these events have on the community.”
  • “As the whole world looked at Brazil, it was an opportunity to show the community perspective in addition to the official propaganda.”
  • “Look at the example of Vila Autódromo which has achieved victories thanks to the international media.”
  • “It’s really positive that the international press is giving attention to the communities, because the national media only gives communities attention when something bad is happening.”

And check out what two of the journalists who used the resource had to say:

  • “It is so important to have resources like this. When the world’s media descends on a place it seems that the coverage often reflects the path of least resistance rather than the path of most importance. Having contacts on the ground, like CatComm, helps journalists make informed decisions about how to shape their stories. As someone who worked to help provide journalists with resources, I felt great about being able to add to their research with concrete names, contacts and affiliations as provided by CatComm.”
  • “I think this is a great tool- a quick reference for journalists to have at their fingertips to use in planning their coverage and helping them to hit the ground running once they arrive.”

Access our community leader contact sheet here, and the corresponding map here.

Vila Autódromo Lives Cannot be Replaced in Public Housing