The Search for the Puerto Rican Parade's Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez
The NiLP Report (May 27, 2017)
Julio Ricardo Varela
on his Facebook page (may 26, 2017):
Throughout my reporting about the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Oscar López Rivera story for the past two weeks, I have made it a point to consistently contact the Parade media people for reactions to the news. They have always followed up with statements and have been responsive. I have also been trying for the past two weeks to talk with the parade's board chair so that it goes beyond just media statements.
On May 23, NPRDP board chair Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez indicated to me on Twitter that she would be more than happy to talk with me and to set it up. Mind you, I had made several requests to the Parade's media contacts before Ms. Cortes-Vazquez tweeted to me to say that yes, she would like to chat. So I emailed (yet again) the parade media contacts on May 23 (as well as follow-ups) and I also left two messages with the media contacts to say that Ms. Cortes-Vazquez would like to talk. I have yet to receive a response from the media team after several requests and now as I was about the follow up with Ms. Cortes-Vazquez on Twitter, have discovered that her profile has blocked me.
A few things here: 1) as a journalist, when I start looking deeper into a story, my job is to go beyond the media statements we receive and make every effort to talk with people face to face. I am still perplexed why Ms. Cortes-Vazquez would not talk with me. I have had convos with previous NPRDP board chairs under more serious circumstances and the conversations were professional and necessary. 2) I understand Ms.Cortes-Vazquez is a senior advisor to the Mayor of NYC and to see someone in the political arena not be accessible, am sorry, I find that to be troubling 3) This is not some Russian investigation. The Parade board needs to show more of its face and engage journalists, especially Puerto Rican journalists. I will let my stories speak for themselves, but I believe I have done as fair and as thorough a job as I can in reporting this story. 4) The Parade team should not assume that I will ask the same questions other journalists are asking. Why not have the convo to see?
Here's hoping the Parade wakes up a bit and starts answering legitimate questions and not hide behind media statements or Twitter block buttons.
Julio Ricardo Varela is Digital Media Director for Futuro Media, where works with the Latino USA team to promote the show's episodes and expand its social reach. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.