Centro de Periodismo Investigativo de Puerto Rico

Quick Look

CPIPR promotes access to information through investigative reporting and judicial litigation.

Beginning Date: 
October 1, 2008
Annual Budget 2008: 
Annual Budget 2009: 
Annual Budget 2010: 
How many unique hits per month?: 
Project Scale: 
Puerto Rico


The Centro de Periodismo Investigativo de Puerto Rico (CPIPR, The Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Journalism) is a non-profit entity created by journalists Omaya Sosa Pascual and Oscar Serrano to promote access to information through investigative reporting and judicial litigation, using an online platform to distribute the information.

CPIPR works on the assumption that the practice of journalism in traditional media is marked by a pattern where investigative journalism is increasingly less visible, due to political, economic and editorial pressure. Since the exercise of investigative journalism is closely connected with the strengthening of democracy, CPIPR sees itself as an instrument of transparency required of public and private practices that relate to the public interest. Co-founder Oscar Serrano explains.


Tell me a little about your project.: 

Centro de Periodismo Investigativo is the first non-profit institution in Puerto Rico dedicated to the disclosure of information, understood as a broad concept, which implies the need to have relevant information for journalistic discourse and democratic leadership, and power of the citizens to receive information from the government and force it to give it.

Under this concept, we move into two areas: investigative journalism and litigation and law cases, to gain access to this information.

This effort began with a colleague, Omaya Soza. We were both were investigative reporters at different newspapers, of the same family, and we separately noted a trend of growing gaps in depth and research in the newspapers. More and more stories over time were not published, which brought us into conflict with editors and directors. We both were going through the same situation, so we decided to quit and create a research project. The development of the Centro took timetable changes, more than changes in intention, since the initial concept has not changed greatly.

Moreover, funding is what has made it difficult to carry out certain projects. From the beginning we saw the need to create an alliance, and we thought of negotiating this with the School of Laws at Iberoamerican University, but not with the State University, because of previous problems. Through this alliance, we have already set up a clinic where law students help us follow certain cases. We also have administrative and structural support, plus a small monthly stipend, which has allowed the development of a fund.

We also run a training center for students who work with us, doing expositions on investigative journalism. Of course, we must not forget to mention that the legal area is the one that benefits from increased funding to have more lawyers and tools.

Problems of access in journalism turn on demands, representing those in need, for documents that government will not deliver. This is especially so with statistics, like the case of health, where we have a pending legal suit. Then there are cases of records for review, police, funding reports raised by candidates, agents assigned to guard officials and those who have them, among other cases.

What's your vision for the project?: 

We want to integrate dissemination tools. Through our website you can subscribe to an email newsletter, and we also have a Facebook page. We have not yet opened a Twitter account, but we are planning this. We also need to work on integrating video and digital graphics, as we have no knowledge in these areas. We just have text, photos, documents and databases.

How does your work currently turn into offline change? : 

The Justice Department is getting annoyed, which is what we wanted to achieve, to help create a changed vision, and we are bringing in this change. The government has already established a statistics institute. The reason is that today the information needed for changes in the country is available in private only.

What are the biggest obstacles to your success?: 

Apart from funding, which we have now cleared as a major obstacle, our ability to find and use volunteers in our work has been good. Government, under the presumption of privacy of information, has given us a challenge to expand our work, to attract more people.

On the other hand, as we have to work part time, our publication has not been constant. This will be improved when we can pay more journalists.
Another challenge has been educating people about what an investigative journalism piece is, as they believe it is only a story of scandal, which means there is a certain expectation of the public that reads us.

What is your civic role?: 

We do lobbying work. We have participated in the legislative process with papers and comments on bills.

What is your relationship with the private sector?: 

We are contacting industrialists and lawyers, among others, for talks on the access issue. We know that there is much need for access to information in the private sector, but there is no mechanism to demand it. Instead of antagonizing the companies, we look forward to an alliance, to make them important players in the struggle for access.

Is your work a replication of another project?: 

We created the idea after several meetings with CIPER Chile, which the director attended as an international guest. There are also other organizations in Latin America and North America, with lawyers specializing in freedom of expression and related issues, which inspired us.

What transparency/accountability organizations do you work with?: 

With the work we’ve done so far, we are establishing alliances to create a single story, and not many versions. For example, we did a co-publication with the Miami Herald on a refinery explosion. We continue to build alliances to grow and achieve our goals.


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