The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Sept. 26, 2016 - 5pm Eastern Time
  • How FIJ Helped to Uncover the My Lai Massacre

    Seymour HershClick here to hear veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh tell how – with financial support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism – he learned about the massacre of civilians in Vietnam, how he tracked down Lt. William Calley and, in so doing, changed the world’s perception of American intervention in Southeast Asia. It demonstrates how small grants from our fund have enabled talented journalists to produce big, important stories, changing the course of history.

    Diversity Initiative Supports Social Justice Reporting

    Through a collaboration underwritten by a Ford Foundation grant, The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University have joined forces to broaden opportunities for independent investigative reporting by women and journalists of color. Four independent, U.S.-based reporters with strong proposals to investigate significant systemic or social justice issues will receive competitively awarded grants up to $9,000 to pay for costs such as travel, document fees, equipment rentals, and small stipends.

    Inside the San Diego Power Plant Deals

    July 26th, 2016

    SanDiegopowerFrom inewsource reporters Chris Young and Ingrid Lobet, an investigation into how a buying binge of power plants led to a boost in electricity rates for San Diego residents, now among the highest in the nation. Deals were struck that may have also set the stage for ongoing criminal investigations. Inewsource is a San Diego based nonprofit news organization.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Megan Wood

    FIJ Grantee from Kenya Reports on Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference

    July 13th, 2016

    Rosalia at IRE(NEW ORLEANS) – By ROSALIA OMUNGO

    It all began with a tweet from a lady working in an organization concerned about governance of water bodies such as rivers. On responding to the tweet, she informed me of the danger that was being posed to Lake Turkana in Kenya due to the construction of Gibe 111 dam in Ethiopia, urging me to follow up on the story. I went a notch higher and presented a proposal to the Fund for Investigative Journalism to investigate the story, which was accepted. It is because of this investigative series that highlighted the plight of Kenyans and even Ethiopians that I landed an opportunity to attend the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in New Orleans in June 2017.

    It was a time for the crème de la crème in investigative reporting globally to converge in New Orleans to share their work and share ideas on how to make investigative reporting better. Sessions explored several themes ranging from data journalism, health reporting freelancing and business journalism. I was happy to be a panelist in the session on uncovering stories on the environmental beat, alongside other journalists from the Society for Environmental Journalists (SEJ). I was able to share my work in environmental reporting in Kenya with conference participants.

    My presentation focused on Gibe III dam in Ethiopia, its connection to Lake Turkana in the North of Kenya and the predicament facing residents who rely on the Lake for water for domestic purposes. The audience applauded the Turkana reporting for the series #Lake TurkanaUnder Siege, saying it was an important avenue for the vulnerable community to share their plight. Read the rest of this entry »

    FIJ-Schuster-Ford Foundation Diversity Initiative

    July 8th, 2016

    As reported in Nonprofit Quarterly, “For journalism to be ingenious, groundbreaking, and accurate, we need a plethora of voices. Recognizing the value of diverse perspectives, the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University are partnering to distribute a grant from the Ford Foundation to support female journalists and journalists of color.”

    Georgia News Lab Exposes Unethical Practices

    June 24th, 2016

    GAunnamedThroughout the year, the Georgia News Lab has been responsible for stories that expose unethical practices in Georgia government. The Georgia News Lab is an innovative model for training diverse journalists from historically black universities. It combines classroom training with the real-world practice of journalism side-by-side with professionals at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) and WSB-TV. The results are impressive: student reporting teams, coupled with AJC reporters, produced investigations that broke news. In one story they reported on a state lawmaker who had not disclosed state payments to his private business. Another uncovered special interest campaign contributions to a candidate who had pledged not to accept such donations. The team also documented the wide-spread disregard by Atlanta judges in complying with financial disclosure requirements.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Gannett Foundation.]

    Photo courtesy of the Georgia News Lab

    “Writing That Makes a Difference”

    June 24th, 2016

    project_thrift_12 (1)Francesca Lyman’s investigation of a for-profit thrift store chain which does more than $1.2 billion in business a year, while masquerading as a charity, has won an Arlene Award for Writing that Makes a Difference. The award comes from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), which honors outstanding nonfiction work produced on a freelance basis each year.

    The story was reported for InvestigateWest with support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

    ASJA is the professional association of independent nonfiction writers, founded in 1948, with more than 1200 members who have each met exacting standards of professional achievement.

    The Little Known Subsidy for Illinois Unions

    June 24th, 2016

    INN_logoScott Reeder of Illinois News Network reports that taxpayers in Illinois are increasingly footing the bill for public sector union officials. It’s a policy called “release time” for public employees, who are paid up to $141,000, and is written into contracts to ensure labor peace. At least forty Illinois counties follow this practice.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Dying Without Insurance

    June 24th, 2016

    From Mark Betancourt for The Nation, the story of the pain and suffering endured by terminally ill people who have no insurance. For the undocumented, no federal programs are available. Even those with legal resident status wait long hours in emergency rooms for pain medication; hospice care would provide relief, but it’s unaffordable without insurance.

    [Reporting supported by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Watching the Watchmen

    June 13th, 2016

    CityLimitsSecurityGuardFrom City Limits, an investigation finds that weak laws and oversight, poor training and limited accountability affect much of the private-security industry in New York State. While pay has improved in recent years, many security workers still deal with low wages and training scams. Private security guards are everywhere in New York City, from construction sites to department stores, banks and homeless shelters, and yet New York’s laws and regulatory agencies have failed to keep up with the explosion in demand since September 11. The public has limited recourse when guards do something wrong.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Adi Talwar

    Copa América Begins Amid Ashes of Scandal

    June 3rd, 2016

    From Steve Brenner for The Guardian, the story of the wide-ranging corruption scandal that almost scuttled the first Copa America football (soccer) tournament to be hosted outside of South America.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Life Without Parole

    May 27th, 2016

    Dinah Robinson with Photo of Her son, Aaron JohnsonFrom David Krajicek for The Crime Report, an investigation of long sentences that test the question: how much punishment is enough? Focusing on Aaron Johnson of Alabama, convicted after a fourth trial for a 1994 murder, Krajicek writes: “His story is an example of the enduring after-effects of the politicization of American justice through legislated sentencing mandates. A generation ago, experts say, Johnson likely would have served fewer than 20 years for a comparable crime. Even today, he would be parole-eligible in many states.

    “Instead, he is caught in the country’s lifer bubble, roughly 175,000 strong and growing—a neglected remainder of the lock-‘em-up frenzy of the 1980s and 1990s. The number of lifers today is comparable to the entire U.S. prison population in 1968. The racial imbalance is striking: Half of all lifers are black, four times the percentage of African-Americans in the U.S. population.

    “Yet so far lifers have been excluded from reform discussions, even though the country’s long-term prisoners are the core constituency of the methodical mass incarceration that is widely viewed as racist and ineffectual.”

    [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Photo of Dinah Robinson, Johnson’s mother, by David J. Krajicek