We are proud and delighted to announce today that Gabriel Stricker, director of global communications and public affairs at Google, and Joaquin Alvarado, senior vice president for digital innovation at American Public Media, have been elected to the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Board of Directors. Stricker and Alvarado bring exceptional experience in strategic communications and technology and a firsthand understanding of how technology is revolutionizing the journalism world.

CIR is the nation’s oldest, independent nonprofit investigative reporting organization. It is at the forefront of the reinvention of journalism and is a leader in the nonprofit investigative reporting field, which is filling the gaps left by the decline of traditional media. 

“Stricker and Alvarado will be invaluable to CIR as we continue to build an innovative digital newsroom and work toward a sustainable future,” said board Chairman Phil Bronstein.

At Google, Stricker addresses everything from web search and other search properties to issues pertaining to partnerships, content, and the use of intellectual property. Stricker refined his expertise in strategic communications through his work in the electoral arena, having played an important role on campaigns for political and governmental clients around the world. Stricker is the author of the bestselling book on guerrilla marketing, “Mao in the Boardroom,” published by St. Martin’s Press. 

“I’m thrilled to work with CIR to ensure that high-quality, unique and credible journalism flourishes,” Stricker said. “The progress we make in the coming years will have a hand in transforming journalism’s path in the decades ahead.”

Alvarado oversees the digital portfolio for American Public Media and leads the Public Insight Network, a project that is central to CIR’s public engagement strategy. Previously, Alvarado was senior vice president for diversity and innovation at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He has spearheaded numerous projects, including CoCo Studios, which promotes media collaboration and information sharing for fiber and mobile networks; the Institute for Next Generation Internet at San Francisco State University; and the National Public Lightpath, which advocates for high-speed fiber-optic networks.

“CIR exemplifies a truly networked newsroom with some of the most talented reporters and producers working today. I am excited and honored to join the board and look forward to doing my part to sustain and grow our impact,” Alvarado said.

Stricker and Alvarado join CIR at a critical time. The organization has undergone a renaissance over the past three years, growing from a staff of seven and budget of $1.7 million to a staff of 32 and budget of nearly $5 million. CIR’s editorial output in that same period has included more than 40 major investigations (most developed for multiple formats and published or broadcast in more than 300 outlets) and more than 1,400 blog entries and Daily Reports. The reporting has had real and lasting impact, leading to new legislation, the closing of legislative loopholes, congressional hearings, changes in corporate governance and significant community engagement. 

CIR Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal said: “We want to be on the forefront of delivering our unique investigative stories to audiences on platforms they are most comfortable with, and to engage them not only in the content of our stories, but also in distribution, information gathering and even the quest for solutions to solve the problems we reveal. Both Gabe and Joaquin can help us attain those goals.”

Christa Scharfenberg

Christa Scharfenberg a former CEO of The Center for Investigative Reporting. She joined CIR in 2003 as communications manager and has been a leader in its growth from a small nonprofit news organization, producing a handful of stories a year, to a multiplatform newsroom that reaches millions of people monthly through public radio, podcasts, documentaries, social media and the web. She managed the launch and growth of Reveal, CIR's Peabody Award and duPont-Columbia University Award-winning national public radio show and podcast, produced with PRX. She has been an executive or senior producer of documentaries for CIR, including the Academy Award-nominated film “Heroin(e),” numerous FRONTLINE co-productions and the independent film “Banished,” which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Scharfenberg is a member of the Poynter Institute's National Advisory Board and was a 2014 Punch Sulzberger Program fellow at Columbia University Journalism School. Prior to joining CIR, she was associate director of the Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco.