Nucleo Journalism is a data-driven website based in Brazil that publishes investigations and analysis about the impact of social media in society.

THE BEGINNING: We are a small news organization, focused on impactful reporting and in serving our core audience. Nucleo (which in Portuguese means core) was founded in January 2020 by journalists Sérgio Spagnuolo (ex. Reuters, UN, ICFJ) and Alexandre Orrico (ex. Buzzfeed, Folha de S.Paulo), with a small funding out of their own pockets.

Volt Data Lab, a data-driven news agency based in Brazil and founded by Spagnuolo in 2014, is the holding company behind Nucleo.

IMPACTS: In April, for example, we published a story about how Facebook was being used to sell guns in Brazil, which is illegal, and our reporting led to the platform removing posts and users involved in illegal trading. We try our best to map the impact we have on our audience and society in this page (Portuguese-only). Our reporting has been either feature in major news organizations in Brazil or served as reference for them to chase their own reporting.

>> Read some of our stories in English

AUDIENCE: Our journalism is for everyone, but our main readers are decision makers, like civil servants, legal experts, third sector workers, scholars, scientists and journalists, as well as people with keen interest in transparency, public policies, Big Tech accountability and analysis of social media data. Currently our audience averages over 30,000 unique visitors per month and 12,000 newsletter subscribers. You can check our raw audience numbers in this page.

STAFF: The organization now has around 15 people (editors, reporters, data analysts, designers), among staff and freelancers. For now, our work is only published in Portuguese, but we do plan to have cross-border projects that can deliver multi-language reporting in the future. Here is our team.


We are actively looking for funding right now, from people and institutions interested in supporting serious, evidence-based independent journalism.

Our basic requirements for receiving any outside money are:

  • we have to be able to disclose the funder's name and value invested or donated, and;
  • we need maintain complete journalistic and editorial autonomy from any funders, donors or investors.

For now, to support ourselves, we license our unique social listening technology called Listening Pulse to partners and funders interested in supporting the work we do towards transparency, monitoring of political players and the discovery of actionable scientific content in social media.

We also receive voluntary donations of readers and we are currently developing a membership program to allow people to contribute with us on a regular basis.

In October 2020, Nucleo received a USD 20,000 funding from the Google News Initiative, part of a startup program created to help news initiatives in Brazil develop their business model. The program ended in April 2021 and the funds received never had any editorial strings attached.

Google never had any say in our journalism. In fact, we have published very critical stories about the way YouTube handles misinformation and how Google may have used bad practices to stay ahead in the ad market.

In May 2021, we also received a USD 13,000 donation from Serrapilheira Institute, an organization which promotes science and science communication in Brazil.

We recently received some new funding that we are excited to talk about. We should make some announcements in July 2022.


Last update: June 20, 2022