The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Feb. 6, 2017 - 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.

    Ministries not always forthcoming about how they use donations

    December 2nd, 2016

    rabeyFoundations, corporations and individual Americans gave $119 billion in 2015 to religious charities. Steve Rabey, reporting for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Religion News Service, found that some of these charities aren’t very forthcoming about how they spend their money. Reporting for the Gazette, Rabey delved into the financials of some of his community’s largest ministries. But not all complied with his request for records — in apparent violation of transparency standards of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. In his piece for RNS, Rabey took a broader look at financial transparency among the country’s largest religious ministries.

    [In photo, Ed Anderson, Compassion International’s chief financial officer, discusses information systems with ministry workers in Thailand in October. Photo courtesy of Compassion International.]

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

    November 23rd, 2016

    ‘GIVING TUESDAY’ is November 29. Please donate and support independent watchdog journalism.


    NOVEMBER 2016
    Training fellowships boost watchdog journalism

    Idris Akinbajo, an investigative reporter from Nigeria, is hopeful that his country’s maturing democracy will mean more government transparency and perhaps lead to increased availability of government data.

    Akinbajo, who has been twice named Nigeria’s “Journalist of the Year,” certainly has the journalistic chops to report aggressively on the issues facing his country. But he wants to be better prepared to analyze the data that might soon become available.

    “The sheer volume and complexity of some of the data means basic investigative journalism skills might not be enough to analyze the information,” he said, noting that data journalism is mostly absent from Nigerian newsrooms. “How to sort the data, knowing where to look and how to understand the data were some of the essential techniques I wanted to develop.”

    Through the generosity of the Reva & David Logan Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism provided opportunities for six foreign-based journalists, including Akinbajo, to attend conferences so they could further hone their reporting skills and network with other investigative journalists. Read the rest of this entry »

    As need for home care rises, agencies lag in screening employees

    November 5th, 2016

    margulis_caregiversAs the need for personal care attendants rises for the country’s aging baby boomers, concern is also rising about the quality of care being dispensed by caregiver placement agencies. Jennifer Margulis, reporting for Oregon’s Jefferson Public Radio, documents how some families are let down by for-profit in-home care agencies that don’t adequately screen their workers – in some cases, failing to conduct thorough criminal background checks.

    [In photo: Shoshanah Dubiner, 73, says she and her husband both want to stay in their home in Ashland, Oregon, as they age. They worry about the quality of care from caregivers hired through placement agencies. (Photo by Jennifer Margulis)]

    [Reporting sponsored by the Park Foundation.]

    October 29th, 2016

    OCTOBER 2016
    Logan Foundation gives generously to FIJ

    The Reva & David Logan Foundation has been a valued patron of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and we are grateful for its continued generosity. The foundation recently awarded FIJ another $85,000 – the fourth year it has supported our mission of funding independent investigative journalists.

    “This gift is an honor and a challenge: It recognizes the impact of investigations we’ve underwritten, and pushes us to seek out projects with the potential to bring about important social change,” said FIJ’s board president, Ricardo Sandoval Palos.

    Our funders allow FIJ journalists to produce compelling work worthy of recognition. Here’s a recent sampling:

    —Adriana Cardona-Maguigad won two prestigious awards – the Sigma Delta Chi award for radio documentaries and an Edward R. Murrow Award – for her investigation into how drug addicts from Puerto Rico end up on Chicago’s streets.

    —The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting won an Edward R. Murrow Award and recognition from IRE for its report on an entrenched system of political employees that soaks up $2 million in taxpayer dollars each year.

    —Susan Southard received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for her debut nonfiction book, “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,” about the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan during World War II.

    —City Limits and its reporter Kate Pastor garnered award-winning praise from the New York Press Club for an ongoing series on housing.

    —Francesca Lyman received an “Arlene Award for Writing that Makes a Difference” from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for her expose on thrift stores for InvestigateWest.

    —Halle Stockton was a 2016 finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her PublicSource series on psychotropic drugs prescribed to juvenile offenders.

    Next application deadline: Monday, Feb. 6, 2017


    Read the rest of this entry »

    Online database draws attention to stolen artifacts

    October 28th, 2016

    stolen_memoryThe trafficking of stolen cultural or historical artifacts is a worldwide concern, but an underreported one. David Hidalgo and the Peruvian investigative site Ojo Público launched an online catalogue of stolen artifacts that could help draw attention to the problem. Four independent teams across Latin America contributed to the cross-border endeavor, which included investigative journalists, computer programmers and data analysts. Relying on information collected from government agencies, independent organizations and Interpol, the group amassed a census of stolen art that begins to reveal the reach of a global network of smuggled items that the United Nations says generates billions of dollars in illegal profits.

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

    Native Americans seek to draw attention to police-related deaths in their communities

    October 18th, 2016

    Version 2The death of Jackie Salyers, a pregnant 32-year-old Puyallup tribal member, went mostly unnoticed when police in Tacoma, Washington, shot her in the head in January. As publicity over police shootings intensifies, scant attention has been focused on Native Americans who are killed by authorities, according to Stephanie Woodard’s report for “In These Times.” According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and multiple other tabulations, police kill Native Americans at a rate higher than any other group. Inspired by the “Idle No More” and “Black Lives Matter” campaigns, Native Americans are working to focus attention on police-related deaths in their communities and address the root causes of the violence.

    (Photo: Lisa Earl has joined the Puyallup tribe in mourning victims of police violence, including her daughter Jackie Salyers, who was pregnant at the time Tacoma police shot her. Photo by Joseph Zummo.)

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

    Despite growing threat from mines, U.S. Navy still has no viable replacement for aging Sea Dragon helicopter fleet

    October 4th, 2016

    sea-dragonThe Navy’s aging fleet of minesweeping helicopters is in disrepair. In fact, less than a fourth of the 28 remaining Sea Dragons are in flying shape at any given time, according to a two-part report by Mike Hixenbaugh and Jason Paladino in The Virginian-Pilot.

    In partnership with UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program, the pair reported that the Navy needs to keep the Sea Dragon in service through at least 2025, and likely for years beyond that, because there is no viable replacement for the aircraft – despite the growing threat posed by mines.

    More than a quarter-million ocean mines are held in the inventories of 50 navies around the world, including Iran, China and North Korea.

    (In accompanying photo, Virginian-Pilot reporter Mike Hixenbaugh boards a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter in Bahrain while on a reporting assignment for UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program. Photo by Jason Paladino.)

    [Reporting sponsored by the Ethics and Excellence Foundation.]

    In the wake of Mexico’s drug wars, staggering number of the country’s missing unearthed from clandestine graves

    October 3rd, 2016

    graves_busquedaNo one really knows how many people are buried in clandestine graves across Mexico in the wake of the country’s drug wars. Mexican officials say 662 bodies were found in 201 graves in 16 Mexican states between August 2006 and October 2015.

    But as Dawn Paley reported for The Nation, the tally could be far more staggering: During the same period, newspapers reported at least 2,439 bodies discovered in 30 of Mexico’s 31 states, as well as in Mexico City. Meanwhile self-taught search teams fan out in search of loved ones, relying on hand-drawn maps, messages on WhatsApp and Facebook and tips from folks who speak of bodies being buried late into the night.

    (In photo, a mother whose son disappeared sifts through sand for bone fragments as soldiers look on, outside of the city of Torreón. Photo by Dawn Paley.)

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

    FIJ launches monthly newsletter to highlight grantees’ work

    September 30th, 2016

    092016_newsletterThe Fund for Investigative Journalism is kicking off a monthly newsletter to showcase the groundbreaking work produced by investigative journalists working with our grants.

    By providing money to cover travel and expenses, FIJ enables grantees to tackle ambitious investigative stories that might otherwise go uncovered. We are excited to share some of their work.

    Earlier this week, we closed the application period for our current round of grants. In the next few weeks, we will sift through those applications, seeking opportunities to support ambitious, high-impact projects across the country and the world.

    FIJ’s monthly newsletter will feature links to recently completed projects and update you about other endeavors, such as the Ford Foundation-funded diversity initiative we are launching with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.

    This summer, we made the rounds at summer journalism conferences, including gatherings of African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American journalists to spread the word about our grant and fellowship opportunities.

    We hope you will join us in raising awareness of FIJ’s work and its mission to support independent investigative reporting.

    Read September’s newsletter.

    Big money pours into San Francisco politics

    September 29th, 2016

    rising_cost_winning_votesThe role of money is looming larger in San Francisco politics, where nearly $28 million flowed into campaigns last year. Some campaigns had more money than others. In partnership with the TV Archive, a project of the Internet Archive, the San Francisco Public Press examined how the money was spent and analyzed the “half-truths and slanted narratives” being peddled by campaigns. Surprisingly, much of the money spent in the tech-savvy city was for old-school campaign tactics: mailers and television spots.

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