Journalists at Centro Periodismo Investigativo, CPI, still investigated corruption in former governor Ricardo Roselló’s cabinet. Carla Minet and Oscar Serrano were integral to CPI’s coverage.
CPI’s investigative work in Puerto Rico inspired an organized protest through social media with #RickyRenunciaYa. Demonstrations followed with thousands taking to the streets. Minet said, since the story broke, the non-profit’s funding quadrupled.
Here are three lessons every local journalist should take away from this story, from the CPI newsroom.
Journalists should be careful not to attribute too much power to their work. A journalist should present the facts and solely the facts regardless of their circumstances or personal bias. What the audience chooses to do with this information is up to them.
Created 12 years ago CPI, has pulled in thousands of readers every day, most from Puerto Rico. Serrano, a co-founder, said the goal of the organization and every journalist should be to make information of public concern available, not to incite change.
“We took [the leaked chat] to the point that we had to take it, which is putting the information out,” Serrano said. “What came after that was to the people’s credit.”
Journalists should be willing to investigate corruption in any community. People will gravitate to information that directly affects their lives.
Not all corruption is as widespread and prominent as Puerto Rico and its governor, however. Serrano and Minet stressed that journalists should take the initiative to identify and investigate corruption in their backyard.
“Sometimes we kind of forget that every community we belong to has issues with power abuse,” Serrano said. “People are going to care about what happens in their community.”
Journalists should cover stories that may be out of their comfort zone. They should immerse themselves in the context of the story. Background knowledge allows for more accurate coverage.
Minet believes the majority of U.S. outlets have little to no context and do not know much about the colonial and fiscal situation of Puerto Rico.
“They take things at face value.” Minet said. “And I think that is a problem…”
Since Roselló’s resignation, three new governors have taken office. The latest addition is Wanda Vázquez Garced. Garced served as secretary of justice during Ricardo’s tenure. She was sworn in last month. CPI is currently investigating potential corruption.