First Online-Only Bilingual Investigative Reporting Organization Gets Funding

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By: E&P Staff

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting has received a $100,000 grant to help launch the nation’s first nonprofit, digital and bilingual investigative journalism organization.

The grant was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, an Oklahoma City-based foundation that also has provided startup funding for several investigative nonprofits nationwide, including the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and InvestigateWest in Seattle, Wash.

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR) is located at the International Media Center, a nonprofit program at Florida International University dedicated to training journalists in Latin America.

FCIR said its English- and Spanish-language investigative reports will be published online and through media partners.

“We’re thrilled that Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation has the commitment to watchdog reporting and the vision to support us in reaching new and diverse audiences in Florida,” Sharon Rosenhause, the retired managing editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel who is president of FCIR’s board of directors, said in a statement.

FCIR’s board also includes Barbara Petersen, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee; Joe Adams, an editorial writer for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and author of The Florida Public Records Handbook; Dr. Stephanie Tripp, a digital media theorist at the University of Tampa; Mercedes Vigón, associate director of the International Media Center in North Miami; and Sanford L. Bohrer, a partner in the Holland & Knight law firm’s Miami office.

A journalism advisory committee also will support FCIR’s efforts. Its members include Brant Houston, the Knight Chair in investigative and enterprise reporting at the University of Illinois and chair of the Investigative News Network; John Virtue, an author, journalist and director of the International Media Center in North Miami; Manny Garcia, executive editor of El Nuevo Herald in Miami; Neil Reisner, a journalism professor at Florida International University; Lea Thompson, former chief correspondent for NBC’s Dateline and a board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors; Patrick Manteiga, editor and publisher of La Gaceta, a trilingual newspaper in Tampa; Dr. Scott Paine, chair of the University of Tampa’s Department of Communications; and David Donald, data editor at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C.

FCIR’s founding editors and reporters are Mc Nelly Torres and Trevor Aaronson, who will serve as the associate directors of FCIR. Torres.

In addition to the $100,000 Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation grant, FCIR has received project grants from the Washington, D.C.-based Fund for Investigative Journalism for individual stories being worked on by Torres and Aaronson.

FCIR said it will begin publishing investigative journalism later this year.

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