The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Deadline: Feb. 5, 2018 (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.

    In New Mexico, law enforcement officers sometimes are first responders in mental health care crisis

    December 6th, 2017

    Southern New Mexico’s fragile behavioral health system has taken many hits in recent years and doesn’t meet the region’s needs, according to a series of reports by NMPolitics.net in collaboration with the Las Cruces Sun-News and KRWG News. Law enforcement is increasingly tasked with handling crises they can’t fix, data shows. Policymakers have taken some steps to help, but progress has been slow. The news collaboration set out to investigate the problem, tell the stories of people the system impacts, and explore possible solutions — including implementing new law enforcement programs, creating a mental health court and expanding the state psychiatric hospital to the region.

    In photo by Robin Zielinski for NMPolitics.net, balloons and a cupcake festoon a cross on the Lohman Avenue bridge, where Juan Gabriel Torres was shot to death by police.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    After Hurricane Harvey, Houston-area homeowners remain in limbo over flood-damaged homes

    November 28th, 2017

    Even after Hurricane Harvey, the best efforts by Harris County officials to purchase the most flood-prone homes won’t make a dent in the larger problem, according to the Texas Tribune in a collaboration with Reveal and ProPublica. Despite the obvious need and high demand, Harris County, home to Houston, is plagued by challenges endemic to buyout programs. Limited funds, competing priorities, strict criteria place buyouts out of reach of willing participants. The snail’s pace of bureaucracy, which puts homeowners in limbo while creating opportunities for private developers to buy and flip flooded homes, also perpetuates the problem.

    In photo by Michael Stravato for the Texas Tribune: Maurine Howard and husband Dave Davis are concerned with load bearing walls that may need to be replaced. Their home was flooded for weeks after water was released from Barker reservoir.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Park Foundation.]

    Ethical questions arise over links between rehab operators and online sites dispensing information about addiction

    November 27th, 2017

    As more people seek information about opioid addiction and its consequences, finding unbiased information is extremely difficult, according to a new report by Cat Ferguson for The Verge. In fact, some popular publications that distribute information about addiction and treatment are doubling as marketing arms for treatment centers. Ferguson, who is pursing a broader investigation into how rehab marketers manipulate addicts, reports that the connections between rehab operations and the sites are relatively well-known within the industry but less known by people going to the sites for impartial information. Prompted by Ferguson’s reporting, at least one site added disclaimers about its relationship with a treatment center.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Join FIJ on ‘Giving Tuesday’ to support independent investigative journalism

    November 25th, 2017

    Now more than ever, freelance and independent journalists are in a precarious position. They lack the protections and resources of major news outlets, and they don’t always have the funding to pursue their crucial investigations that improve our communities and strengthen our democracy.

    For a half century, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has supported freelance and independent journalists by providing grants of up to $10,000 to cover reporting expenses.

    FIJ-sponsored writers have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Magazine Awards, the MacArthur “Genius” award and a slew of other industry praises.

    We financially support about four dozen reporting projects every year. The money covers airfare for reporting trips, secures troves of costly data or covers fees for copying public records.

    We receive scores of funding requests from investigative reporters, but can only fund a select few. As a result, many important and deserving stories may go untold.

    With your support, FIJ-funded journalists can continue to uncover wrongdoing, shine light on information shrouded in secrecy, and speak on behalf of ordinary citizens and the powerless.

    Please consider a donation to FIJ so we can continue our important work.

    Tests show hazardous levels of pollutants generated by leaf blowers

    November 25th, 2017

    Leaf blowers and other gas-powered lawn and garden machines emit surprisingly large amounts of smog-forming chemicals. But scant research exists on the potential risks to the mostly low-paid immigrant workers who use the equipment for many hours each week.

    FairWarning commissioned tests that found that levels of hazardous ultra-fine particles were as much as 50 times higher around the machines as at a busy intersection at rush hour. FairWarning’s piece was carried by some 30 outlets, many of them members of the McClatchy newspaper chain. KCET-TV, the Los Angeles public television station, aired a 9-minute piece on the matter.

    Meanwhile, the California Air Resources Board continues to tighten rules on leaf blowers and other landscaping equipment to further limit emissions.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Park Foundation.]

    Giving thanks to our many sponsors and supporters

    November 21st, 2017

    With gratitude for their service and support, the board and staff of the Fund for Investigative Journalism would like to acknowledge the many individuals and organizations that help investigative reporters hold powerful people and institutions accountable to the public.

    Major Supporters

    • Reva & David Logan Foundation
    • Jonathan Logan Family Foundation
    • craigslist Charitable Fund
    • Ford Foundation
    • Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
    • Weissman Family Foundation
    • Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation
    • Park Foundation
    • Scripps Howard Foundation
    • Green Park Foundation
    • Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation
    • The Nara Fund
    • The Herb Block Foundation
    • Davis Family Charitable Fund
    • Ardea Fund
    • Shari Pfleeger
    • Irene Schmidt
    • Connie Rydberg and Nirav Kapadia
    • Sally Collier and Robert Caiola
    • Heding Yang

    Mentors

    • Jason Begay
    • David Biello
    • Kate Boo
    • Tom Brune
    • Ron Campbell
    • Ryan Gabrielson
    • James Grimaldi
    • Linda Jue
    • Chuck Lewis
    • Ingrid Lobet
    • Liz Lucas
    • Robert McClure
    • Craig McCoy
    • Deborah Nelson
    • Steven Rich
    • Robert Rosenthal
    • John Shiffman
    • Susan Southard
    • Scott Zamost

    Partners and Friends

    • Catalogue for Philanthropy – Greater Washington
    • Investigative Reporters and Editors
    • Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE)
    • Logan Nonfiction Program
    • Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University
    • Society of Environmental Journalists

    Advisers

    • Eric Fingerhut, Amy Christen, Pro Bono Attorneys, Dykema
    • Kyle W. Drefke, Pro Bono Attorney, Orrick
    • Gary L. Bostwick, Pro Bono Attorney, BostwickLaw
    • Stefanie Gerard Cohn, Pro Bono CPA, Raffa
    • Leigh Riddick, Pro Bono Financial Advisor, Kogod School of Business, American University
    • Bridget Gallagher, fundraising consultant
    • Bev Orr, bookkeeping and payroll services

    Thanks to all!

    FIJ awards $107,000 in new grants

    November 8th, 2017

    Washington – The Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded 16 new grants, totaling nearly $107,000, to support reporting projects on a host of topics. The money goes toward travel, document fees and other expenses incurred by the freelance and independent journalists so they can pursue their investigations.

    The journalists receiving grants include:

    • Sandra Bartlett, a Toronto-based journalist
    • Abby Ellis, a New York-based filmmaker, and Kayla Ruble, an investigative journalist who splits her time between New York and Flint, Michigan.
    • Cat Ferguson, a freelance journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area
    • Eliza Griswald, a New York-based author
    • Natasha Haverty, who specializes in criminal justice topics
    • William Huntsberry, a San Diego-based freelancer
    • Laura Kasinof, a Berlin-based investigative journalist
    • Maria Martin, the director of GraciasVida Center for Media
    • Joshua F. Moore, executive editor for Pine Tree Watch, a nonprofit investigative news service in Maine
    • Emily Ramshaw, editor-in-chief for Texas Tribune
    • Wallace Roberts, a Vermont freelancer<
    • Halle Stockton, a reporter for Pittsburgh-based news organization, PublicSource
    • Michael Stoll, executive director and founder of San Franciso Public Press
    • Noy Thrupkaew, a Los Angeles-based investigative journalist
    • Nancy West, publisher of InDepthNH
    • Stephanie Woodard, a New York-based journalist

    Freelance and independent journalists can apply for as much as $10,000 to help finance their investigations. The next application deadline will be next spring.


    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

    October Newsletter: FIJ revamps, relaunches mentoring program

    November 1st, 2017

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism has begun recruiting mentors as part of a revamped mentorship program aimed at providing grant recipients access to some of the country’s best investigative journalists. The relaunched program comes with the financial backing of the Scripps Howard Foundation, which recently gave FIJ $5,000.

    The gift allows FIJ to offer its mentors modest honoraria for their yearlong commitment to the program. FIJ board member Mark Greenblatt, a member of the Scripps Washington bureau, is helping build FIJ’s stable of mentors.

    Mentors will be paired with grant recipients who request a reporting coach during the normal application process.

    The first batch of pairings will be made in the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

    Questions swirl in Indiana around validity of mental competency testimony

    October 13th, 2017

    Steve Burger of WNIN public radio of Indiana delved into the background of a psychologist often hired as an expert court witness after the psychologist was convicted of felony charges for falsifying an evaluation in one case.  The psychologist, Albert Fink, had performed dozens of competency evaluations over the last 10 years, and those evaluations were now under question after authorities said he confessed to falsifying a report related to a trial at which he was supposed to offer testimony. WNIN’s reporting revealed a system easily abused because it lacks adequate oversight. Courts rely on psychologists to assess the mental fitness of defendants, but serious questions now swirl around how courts determine mental competency in Indiana and what system of oversight is in place to ensure defendants get a valid examination.

    As part of its ongoing investigation, WNIN uncovered a list of 29 cases in which it is suspected the doctor may have falsified the evaluations. WhenWNIN contacted the chief public defender of the Indiana Supreme Court, officials took the unusual step of actually reaching out to the defendants in those other cases to advise them of their options.

    (In photo by AJ Casey for WNIN, Psychologist Albert Fink at a court hearing in GIbson County, Indiana. The doctor was charged with obstruction of justice after admitting he had faked court-ordered mental health examinations.)

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    FIJ/Schuster Institute fellow dives deeper into the factors behind recidivism in America

    October 12th, 2017

    In her latest package focusing on recidivism in America for USA Today, FIJ/Schuster Institute diversity fellow Lottie Joiner examines how women are faring in a criminal justice system designed with men in mind. Many of the programs that help inmates re-enter society aren’t appropriate for women, Joiner reports. Once an inmate is in the system, it’s hard for her to stay out; in fact, about 70% of female inmates return to the system within five years. Joiner most recent multimedia package focuses on the struggle by one woman to keep herself out of prison for good.

    Two previous installments began Joiner’s deep dive into re-entry programs, as part of USA Today’s ambitious “Policing the USA” project.

    Chapter 1 described the recidivism problem in America.

    Chapter 2 focused on how one woman was seeking to change the system after being caught in the revolving door of the criminal justice system.

    Chapter 3 looks into the experiences of another woman, who has been in and out of custody since she was 12.

    (In photo by Jarrad Henderson for USA Today, Candace Harp-Harlow talks about the struggles to put herself back on the right path.)

    [Reporting for this project was provided by the Ford Foundation.]