The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Sept. 25, 2017 - 11:59 pm (Eastern)
  • 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.

    50 years after partial nuclear meltdown, clean up still lags at Southern California laboratory

    May 23rd, 2017

    In a series of reports for The California Report, Chris Richard investigated the long-stalled cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory near Los Angeles. He describes how NASA and the Department of Energy failed to fulfill their legal commitments to remove the contamination they and other federal agencies caused, including the radiation from a partial nuclear meltdown a half century ago. Richard reports that the environmental damage has yet to be fully addressed. A final segment examined similar regulatory failures by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.
    (Photo by Chris Richard/KQED: Jeanne Fjelstad hands out a leaflet warning visitors to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory of remaining chemical and nuclear contamination.)

    [Reporting for this project was sponsored by the Park Foundation.]

     

     

    Hundreds of convicted terror suspects have been released

    May 15th, 2017

    Over the past 15 years, the U.S. government has quietly released more than 400 people convicted on international terrorism-related charges. Some were deported to other countries following their prison terms, but a large number of convicted terrorists are living in the United States. Reporting for the Intercept, Trevor Aaronson tells this story through the case of the Liberty City Seven, a group of men caught up in an FBI counterterrorism sting in Miami in 2006. A decade later, all but one of the Liberty City Seven defendants are free, suggesting these so-called terrorists weren’t particularly dangerous in the first place. Aaronson’s latest piece is part of a larger body of work that examined 15 years of terrorism international prosecutions in the United States.

    (In photo by Trevor Aaronson: Patrick Abraham is one of the so-called “Liberty City Seven” who were convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization, among other charges. After he was released, he returned to Haiti, where he teaches English at a school in Port-au-Prince.)

    [Reporting for this project was sponsored by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Fraud allegations point to challenges in reforming L.A. sheriff’s office

    May 14th, 2017

    In the last four years twenty-one members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have been convicted of federal crimes, including the department’s popular former sheriff Lee Baca, causing the head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, to describe the LASD as having a “toxic culture of corruption seen only in the movies.” A thee-part investigation by WitnessLA by Celeste Fremon into possible incidents of fraud relating to a fleet of Sea King helicopters loaned under a controversial Defense Department program suggests challenges remain in rooting out a culture of fraud.

    [Reporting for this project was sponsored by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    2017 FIJ diversity fellows get to work; head to IRE, Logan conferences

    May 14th, 2017

    Seven journalsts selected as diversity fellows by the Schuster Institute and the Fund for Investigative Journalism have begun working on their projects.As they continue their reporting, the fellows will take part in training and networking conferences — thanks to the generosity of Jon Logan and the Reva and David Logan Foundation.Three of the fellows are spending the final days of April at the University of California, Berkeley, for the invitation-only Logan Symposium. The remaining four head to Phoenix in June for the IRE conference.Funding from the Logan Foundation allows FIJ to pay the full cost of registration, airfare and accomodations for the fellows.

    Lisa Armstrong, Michele Chabin, Lottie Joiner, Jaeah Lee and Linda Matchan were announced earlier this year as FIJ Schuster Institute Social Justice Investigative Reporting Fellows. Sonia Paul and Stacy Thacker were selected as investigative “rising stars.”

    The fellowships, underwritten by the Ford Foundation, hopes to increase the ranks of women and journalists of color in a field where they have been underrepresented.

    In other news: FIJ recently announced $120,000 in grants for investigative journalism. Visit FIJ.org for a list of the latest grant recipients. Read the rest of this entry »

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism Is Hiring

    May 2nd, 2017

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism seeks Director of Operations

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) helps fund groundbreaking investigative stories that otherwise would not be told. Founded in 1969, FIJ makes grants to independent investigative journalists who have great tips, ideas, and sources, but need financial resources to do their work.

    FIJ is governed by a board of experienced investigative journalists. It is an organization of journalists helping journalists by raising the funds that make independent watchdog reporting possible.

    To help meet the growing needs of investigative journalists who work independently, without the resources or protection of media organizations and newsrooms, FIJ is hiring a Director of Operations.

    The Director of Operations oversees all office operations and procedures to ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency and reports directly to the Executive Director. Read the rest of this entry »

    FIJ awards $120,000 in grants for investigative journalism

    April 19th, 2017


    APRIL 19, 2017
    FIJ awards $120,000 in grants
    for investigative journalism
    WASHINGTON – The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $120,000 in grants to journalists working on projects across the United States and around the world. Grants from FIJ help freelancers and reporters working for nonprofit news organizations cover expenses such as document retrieval, travel to develop and interview sources, and equipment rental fees.”The record number of grants, and dollars committed to journalists is buoyed by an increase in funds flowing from the public to FIJ,” said Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, FIJ’s board president. “By plowing these donations into the work of investigative reporters, we are recognizing the value the public has placed on independent journalism in speaking truth to power.”The grantees include:• Andrew Burton, a San Francisco based filmmaker and photographer
    Rebecca Clarren, reporter for InvestigateWest
    Erika Cohn, an investigative journalist and filmmaker
    Roy Gutman, a freelance correspondent covering the Middle East
    Beau Hodai, a freelance investigative reporter focused on national security
    May Jeong, a Kabul-based investigative reporter
    Sophia Jones, an Istanbul-based journalist with The Fuller Project
    Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, a journalism professor working with a team of journalists and students
    Maureen Nandini Mitra and Zoe Loftus-Farren of Earth Island Journal with Candice Bernd of Truthout
    Maeve McGoran, an audio journalist based in Miami
    Shawn Musgrave, a Boston-based investigative reporter
    Rina Palta, a correspondent for KPCC covering the social safety net
    Kate Pastor, a freelance journalist
    Daniel Ross, a Los Angeles-based investigative journalist
    Sabrina Shankman of InsideClimate News
    Fabiola Torres Lopez, who specializes in health care investigations for Peru-based OjoPúblico
    Curtis Waltman, a Boston-based reporter at MuckRock
    Rob Waters, a California-based journalistThe Fund for Investigative Journalism supports groundbreaking investigative stories that otherwise would not be told. Founded in 1969, FIJ makes grants to independent investigative journalists who have great tips, ideas, and sources, but need financial resources to do their work.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism |
    529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor | Washington, D.C. 20045 | Phone: 202.662.7564 | Email: email hidden; JavaScript is required | www.fij.org

     

    Mine closures in South Africa scar communities

    April 17th, 2017

    The mining industry built South Africa, but gold deposits are nearly depleted and coal markets are drying up. Documents uncovered by Mark Olalde reveal that major mining houses fail to properly close mines and instead sell their assets to smaller companies that lack funds for environmental rehabilitation.

    Olalde also delved into the environmental, social and economic implications of South Africa’s failed system of mine closures, as well as the questionable practices international mining companies employ to turn a profit. In communities like Amadiba, some are pushing back against projects financed by international mining ventures.

    (Photo by Mark Olalde: Former South African miners and the country as a whole struggle to cope with a minerals extraction industry that is ill-prepared for mine closure and life after mining.)

    [Reporting for this project was was sponsored by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    March 2017 Newsletter

    April 1st, 2017

    NEXT APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, May 22, 2017


    MARCH 2017
    The Park Foundation gives generously in support of investigative journalism

    The Park Foundation is extending its support of independent watchdog journalism. The foundation announced this month that it is awarding FIJ another $50,000.This is the seventh year the Park Foundation has given toward FIJ’s mission.

    “This is a vote of confidence in the Fund’s expanding role as an underwriter of vital, independent investigative reporting,” said Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, chair of FIJ’s Board of Directors. “The Park Foundation’s support fuels our ability to underwrite outstanding journalism.”

    The Park Foundation’s grants support media work such as investigative reporting, public broadcasting and documentary filmmaking. The foundation’s other philanthropic causes include the environment and animal welfare.

    Foundation’s Fundraising Challenge Continues

    The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation awarded FIJ $50,000 for the coming year – and pledged $25,000 more if FIJ can come up with $25,000 in new donations from other donors by Jan. 31. FIJ encourages supporters – including individual donors – to help secure the matching funds.


    HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
    Kurdish militia behind Arab expulsions in Syria

    Ibrahim Abo Omar, 61, a Syrian Arab, describes the eviction of his family from their home in Tel Abyad, Syria, last spring by the Kurdish YPG militia. “They just locked the door. Put the keys in their pocket.” (Photo for The Nation by Roy Gutman)


     

    Roy Gutman set out to investigate
    what appeared to be an ethnically motivated mass expulsion of Arabs in northern Syria from late 2014 through mid-2015 by a Kurdish militia allied with the United States, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

    While Gutman could not document any systematic “ethnic cleansing,” he found evidence that the militia, the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), had organized widespread expulsions of Arabs, a war crime under international humanitarian law, and systematically violated the human rights of Kurds and Arabs in northern Syria. The expulsions were largely political, undertaken at the behest of the Assad regime, with which the YPG is closely allied.

    A six-month investigation for The Nation shows that the militia has evicted Arabs from their homes under threat of violence starting in 2013 and subsequently has blown up, torched, or bulldozed their homes and villages.

    In addition, Gutman found that the Syrian militia has used whatever means necessary to recruit fighters, even at gunpoint, as it kills political opponents and suppresses the news media.

    Central to Gutman’s reporting is the struggle for Kurdish independence, which has had a long and violent history across Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran.

    Debris from a demolished home is loaded onto a truck. Detroit’s demolition protocol requires that dust be sprayed down, which is not occurring in this case. (Photo for The Nation by Eilís O’Neill)


     

    In cities like Detroit, demolishing old buildings might help rejuvenate blighted neighborhoods. But doing so has unintended consequences, according to a report by Eilís O’Neill for The Nation.

    The problem with destroying tens of thousands of old homes is that many are covered in lead paint, and demolition crews risk unleashing clouds of lead dust into the environment — near schools, bus stops and neighborhoods with young families — and threatening the health of children.

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Rebuilding from Nepal quake hampered by sluggish funding

    March 30th, 2017

    Lucinda Fleeson traveled to Nepal to probe delays in distributing housing grants to residents trying to rebuild after the disastrous 2015 earthquake. In her piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fleeson writes about that only a meager 3 percent of the $936 million promised to residents has been disbursed.

    NiemanReports recently featured her work with journalists in Nepal, who produced multimedia stories and interactive data graphics published on the website of the Center for Investigative Journalism-Nepal. The stories reached tens of thousands of readers and listeners. They were published in the three largest English-language newspapers and the leading English-language weekly. The BBC-Nepali radio service broadcast a series of related-stories throughout the country, where listenership counts more than 2.2 million.

    Photo: Kathmandu Post reporter Roshan Sedhai talks with members of the Tamang community in the hills outside of Kathmandu. (Photo courtesy of Lucinda Fleeson.)

    [Reporting for this project was sponsored by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Worldwide shortage of surgeons takes massive toll

    March 29th, 2017

    The shortage of surgeons leads to more than 17 million deaths worldwide every year. In his book, A Surgeon in the Village, recently published by Beacon Press,Tony Bartelme explores the problem by chronicling an American neurosurgeon’s quest to teach brain surgery in a poor and remote area of Tanzania. The neurosurgeon, Dr. Dilan Ellegala, visited Tanzania in 2006 and was surprised to learn that the country had only three brain surgeons for its entire population of 43 million people. Bartelme’s book documents the unintended consequences of the short-term medical mission model and new ways to reduce the global surgical gap.

    [Reporting for this project was sponsored by the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.]