Inspired by data journalism and computer-assisted reporting at the New York Times and after a couple of presentations by editor of interactive news at the Times Aron Pilhofer, the team at the Estadão de São Paulo started work on creating an interactive to allow readers to explore the voting records of politicians in the two houses: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
The team began researching, scraping data from voting records published on the websites of the two chambers, making sense of it and developing the interactive.
In May, three-months after starting work on the project, they launched Basômetro which allows users to explore the data. Clicking on a coloured dot displays the details of a politician and how many times he or she has voted for and against the government; users can also explore how each party has voted on various bills.
José Roberto de Toledo, a journalist at Estadão de São Paulo in Brazil and co-ordinator of the data journalism at the news title, told Journalism.co.uk that the political landscape in Brazil provided a challenge.
"It is quite a complicated matter because there are almost 30 different political parties in Brazil so it is quite difficult to verify and to know the exact amount of support that each governor has at congress at any given time."
The launch of the interactive generated some surprise interest. "The social scientists were in love with Basômetro as for the first time they could use a tool to describe the differences between political parties, between different congressmen and how they change their position, could correlate this with the money they receive for their projects from the government and many many other things."The tool gives this power to the public, so the public can tell the story for themselvesJosé Roberto de Toledo
A group of political scientists approached Estadão and offered write articles based on their analysis using Basômetro
"Of course we accepted the offer and we published the 10 articles," Toledo said. "The most amazing part is that it was spontaneous, we didn't ask, they offered - and that is quite rare."
But the most significant outcome of creating Basômetro, according to Toledo, was putting the reader at the heart of the story.
"I think the most important thing that we could accomplish is that we changed the logic in journalism in this particular matter because the ability to tell this story is no longer in the journalists' hands, it is in the users' hands.
"Anybody who has access to the internet could access Basômetro and discover whatever is important for that specific person about any congressman, about any political party or all the political parties about some specific subject or about all the bills that were voted in congress.
"As journalists we no longer have the main power to tell this story, the tool gives this power to the public, so the public can tell the story for themselves."
For more on Basômetro and two other approaches data journalism in Latin America, listen to this Journalism.co.uk podcast.