The Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico (www.cpipr.org) has just celebrated its two-year anniversary with a fundraising activity that featured a conference and live interview with the Commonwealth’s government chief statistician, whom the Governor tried to dismiss for requesting the publication of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Dr. Mario Marazzi became an unlikely media subject when he filed a suit to have the Puerto Rico Labor Department publish the CPI, which had remain outdated for decades and then, when it was updated, was kept secret. Island economists think the government’s attitude has to do with the fact that an updated index would reflect the island’s inflation to be distorted and overstated.
With Dr. Marazzi’s conference, the Center inaugurated what it hopes to be a series of fundraising activities that feature news subjects, specially subjects related with freedom of information, in a candid live interview with journalists and the Center’s Codirectors, Omaya Sosa Pascual and Oscar J. Serrano.
The conference wrapped up a year in which the Center, the first investigative journalism nonprofit in the Caribbean, was able to receive a donation from the island’s main foundation, Fundación Ángel Ramos, go on to the second round of an Alicia Patterson Foundation grant, submit a proposal for the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, and submit a proposal for the Knight Newschallenge. Also, the Center received three prizes for excellence from the island’s two press associations, was able to multiply exponentially the traffic to its web site, and hosted two journalism students as well as five law students for internships in investigative journalism and freedom of information litigation.