Puerto Rico is in the midst of a political revolution. News articles are covered with pictures of the activists who took to the streets and ultimately forced the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló last week, but a large part of the story is more challenging to visualize. On July 13, the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (Center for Investigative Journalism, abbreviated as CPI), a small, 10-person news outlet, released 889 pages that revealed the administration’s contempt for both citizens and the law. What is the ultimate takeaway from the CPI’s role in the Governor’s ousting?
Puerto Rico deserves more coverage
Brandon Keller, Fourth View Contributor
The ousting of Governor Roselló in Puerto Rico proves how more media coverage is needed on the island. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, coverage of the natural disaster paled in comparison to hurricanes that hit the U.S. mainland. Now, we have just recently learned that the Puerto Rican government was involved in massive corruption scandals that misused federal funds. We will never know how much more efficiently Hurricane Maria’s recovery efforts would’ve been if this level of corruption was exposed by media outlets earlier. Lastly, the recent ousting of the governor happened due to 900 pages released by a small news agency, the CPI. CPI even states that investigative reporters are scarce for Puerto Rico on the island itself and on the U.S. mainland. Major U.S. media outlets (Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC) do not have bureau offices on the island for the most part as well. It is imperative that news executives start expanding to Puerto Rico more for the sake of Hispanic outreach. It would be a surprisingly great investment that would garner many viewers after these recent major news headlines.
Puerto Rico isn’t the only community in need of more coverage
Spencer Weaver, Fourth View Founder
The Center for Investigative Journalism and their report is not only an example of an organization uncovering a classic case of government malfeasance and abuse, it’s a revealing look at the struggles of news deserts. U.S. networks left the island years ago. Univision closed up shop in 2014. The closest thing to an international bureau seems to be when NBC rented a house after Hurricane Maria in order to provide coverage and give their reporters a place to stay. The Columbia Journalism Review noted “much coverage has centered on the character of Rossellô. Once he leaves office, local observers fear, the press will dissipate again. ‘I have no doubt that the US media outlets will leave after Rossellô’s substitute has been chosen,’ Torres Gotay says.” That is a reasonable expectation, but it’s not exclusive to Puerto Rico – that’s how the US media has responded to most stories outside of New York, Washington, DC., and Los Angeles: they show up, get a story, and return to their media-rich encampments. As much as the CPI’s reporting is a model for the power of quality investigative journalism, it’s also an example of a problem all across the country.