The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Feb. 6, 2017 - Midnight 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.

    Tax credits for Pennsylvania film and TV productions being wasted?

    January 13th, 2017

    Pennsylvania has spent more than half a billion dollars over the past decade to lure film and TV productions to the state. But an investigation by PublicSource suggests that millions of dollars spent to provide film tax credits are not only being misallocated, but also wasted. Some of the findings: All but 1 percent of film tax credits are transferred to companies that have nothing to do with film or TV – essentially transforming the program into a backdoor tax break for some of the largest corporations and utilities operating in Pennsylvania.

    [Pittsburgh’s Strip District served as the backdrop for a raucous fight scene in “Jack Reacher,” starring Tom Cruise. (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures via PublicSource.)]

    [Reporting sponsored by the Park Foundation.]

     

    FIJ Accepting Grant Applications

    January 12th, 2017

    (Washington) The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is now accepting grant proposals for its Monday, Feb. 6 deadline using a new applications platform: investigate.submittable.com.  FIJ makes grants to independent and freelance investigative reporters to produce stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing. The grants cover expenses such as travel, document fees, and equipment rental and may include small stipends. Read more about FIJ grants and application requirements at http://fij.org/apply-for-a-grant/.

     

    Investigation looks into fraud at Vermont ski resort

    January 11th, 2017

    Allegations of fraud have long clouded a ski resort in northern Vermont, including allegations that developers misused $200 million in immigrant investor funds raised through wealthy immigrants seeking special U.S. visas. VTDigger began reporting on these allegations two years before the Securities and Exchange Commission brought charges against the developers last April in what VTDigger reports is now the largest EB-5 immigrant investor fraud case in the nation’s history. In its investigation, VTDigger found that the division of state government charged with monitoring the EB-5 program in Vermont did not properly oversee the Jay Peak projects and that top elected officials promoted the developments to overseas investors despite allegations of fraud dating back to 2012.

    [Photo caption: Jay Peak Resort CEO and president Bill Stenger, right, Gov. Peter Shumlin, center, and Miami business man Ariel Quiros, far left, at a ribbon cutting at the ski area. VTDigger photo.]

    [Reporting sponsored by the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.]

    Hawaii is epicenter of ‘America’s real migrant crisis’

    January 5th, 2017

    Hawaii has the nation’s highest rate of homelessness, with thousands of impoverished people setting up tent cities on sidewalks and along beaches. Many of the homeless are from the Pacific region of Micronesia, whose residents are allowed to live and work freely in the United States under a 30-year-old treaty. Hawaii has been the overwhelming destination of choice, and the state is struggling to accommodate these new arrivals. Aaron Wiener of Mother Jones provides an overview of the dire situation and how it came to be. 

    [Photo cutline: A homeless encampment in Kakaako Waterfront Park in Honolulu. Photo by Aaron Wiener.]

    [Reporting sponsored by the Park Foundation.]

    With Gratitude

    December 28th, 2016

    (Washington) The board and staff of the Fund for Investigative Journalism would like to close out the year with an expression of gratitude for the many individuals and partners who made our work supporting independent investigative journalism possible.

    Major Supporters:

    The Reva & David Logan Foundation

    The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

    The Ford Foundation

    The craigslist Charitable Fund

    The Park Foundation

    The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation

    The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation

    The Green Park Foundation

    The Gannett Foundation

    The Nara Fund

    The Herb Block Foundation

    Shari and Charles Pfleeger

    Connie Rydberg and Nirav Kapadia

    Sally Collier and Bob Caiola

    Thomson Reuters’ “Dollars for Doers” program

    The many donors referred by the Catalogue for Philanthropy – Greater Washington

    Mentors:

    Michael Berens

    David Boardman

    Tom Brune

    Sarah Cohen

    Mark Greenblatt

    James Grimaldi

    Chuck Lewis

    Josh Meyer

    Deborah Nelson

    Ron Nixon

    Ricardo Sandoval Palos

    Michael Sorkin

    Tisha Thompson

    Partners:

    Catalogue for Philanthropy – Greater Washington

    Investigative Reporters and Editors

    Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University

    Society of Environmental Journalists

    Advisors:

    Gary L. Bostwick, Pro Bono Attorney, Bostwick Law

    Stefanie Gerard Cohn, Pro Bono CPA, Raffa

    Kyle W. Drefke, Pro Bono Attorney, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

    Eric Fingerhut, Pro Bono Attorney, Dykema

    Leigh Riddick, Pro Bono Financial Advisor, Kogod School of Business, American University

    Bobby Caina Calvan

    Bridget Gallagher

    Bev Orr

    And a special thanks to the many new supporters who contributed during the past few weeks, leaving messages of encouragement and appreciation for hard-hitting, unbiased journalism.

    Crisis in Iowa’s wells: Contaminants widespread in private wells

    December 23rd, 2016

    A yearlong investigation by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism reveals the prevalence of nitrates, arsenic, lead and bacteria in private wells across the state. But the 288,000 Iowans who rely on private wells for drinking water may not truly know what’s in their water because their wells aren’t required to be tested, according to a three-day series, “Crisis in Our Wells,” reported by Lauren Shotwell. Because the water quality in those wells goes unregulated, the health risks are unknown.

    [Photo by Lauren Mills Shotwell for IowaWatch: Hannah Lyons, an environmental lab analyst with the Iowa State Hygienic Lab, filtered samples on May 3, 2016, prior to an arsenic speciation test.]

    [Reporting sponsored by the Gannett Foundation.]

    Wishing the FIJ community a joyous holiday season

    December 20th, 2016

    A message from FIJ Board President Ricardo Sandoval Palos:

    On behalf of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I’d like to wish you a joyous holiday season. And I’d like to personally thank all of you for your support of independent watchdog journalists.

    Without you, FIJ would not be able to do its important mission of helping freelance journalists keep institutions of power accountable.

    We are, of course, fortunate to have generous donors like the Logan Foundation – which is giving FIJ $100,000 for the current year – but we are also gratified by the many individual donors who have dug into their pockets to support our journalists.

    In recent weeks, about two dozen new donors have contributed to FIJ, some specifically mentioning concern over the spate of fake news and misinformation. Every donation, whether $10 or $5,000, is significant because each shows an appreciation for the role journalists — especially independent investigative journalists — play in our democracy.

    With that understanding comes the realization that it takes money to pay for quality journalism.

    Over the years, the freelance journalists we have funded have garnered wide attention and honors – including two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Magazine Awards, the George Polk Award and many others.

    More recently, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting was honored with an Edward R. Morrow Award for exposing how Kentucky wasted $2 million a year paying elected jailers and deputies in counties that had no jails. More importantly, the package prompted state legislators, amid public outrage, to address findings brought to light by the center’s reporting.

    Last year, advocates for immigrant youth credited an FIJ-funded series called “Lost Boys” with humanizing an issue that had long played out in the shadows of the juvenile justice system. California Gov. Jerry Brown would later sign legislation prohibiting local probation departments from sharing immigration information with federal authorities.

    While we are proud of the accolades and awards, our longstanding mission is to foster journalism that provokes dialogue and debate.

    We hope that you will continue being a part of our mission by visiting www.fij.org and making a donation.

    Happy holidays.

     

    U.S. Park Service struggles to protect workers from sexual misconduct

    December 20th, 2016

    Lyndsey Gilpin interviewed more than 50 people — from park rangers and scientists, to superintendents and a former Park Service director — for her piece in High Country News looking into sexual harassment within the National Park Service. Her reporting, Gilpin said, revealed an agency that failed to protect workers from sexual misconduct, partly because of the agency’s culture of machismo, retaliation and a confusing process for reporting and handling complaints.

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

    FIJ Awards Investigative Reporting Grants

    December 19th, 2016

    (Washington) The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $72,350 in reporting grants to 14 reporters or reporting teams working on stories that will expose significant ills in society, government malfeasance and cover-ups, and abuses of people whose voices are rarely heard. The grants cover the expenses of reporting such as travel and public records requests.

    The grantees are:

    Robin Amer, fellow, Social Justice News Nexus at Northwestern University

    Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller, co-authors

    Steve Burger, WNIN Tri-State Public Media, Evansville Indiana

    Elizabeth Douglass, correspondent, InquireFirst

    Heath Haussamen, a New Mexico based journalist

    Christopher Jensen, reporter, InDepthNH.org

    Spike Johnson, an investigative journalist who focuses on humanitarian topics

    Jeremy Loudenback, The Chronicle of Social Change

    Patrick Madden, WAMU Radio

    Jarrett Murphy, City Limits News, a New York City investigative news center

    Angie Newsome, Carolina Public Press

    Miranda Spivack, an independent journalist working on a series for the Center for Investigative Reporting

    Diana Washington Valdez, an El Paso-based journalist

    Hella Winston, a New York based investigative reporter

    FIJ invites grant proposals to support investigative projects three times a year. The next deadline for applications is Monday February 6, 2017.

    Colombia’s poor farmers lose land to country’s wealthy and powerful

    December 12th, 2016

    vichadaThe Vichada region of Colombia, located in the country’s eastern plains, has become coveted real estate for corporate agribusinesses and other wealthy interests. An investigation led by Oscar Parra and published in Spanish by rutasdelconflicto.com (translated to English here) documents how the country’s powerful — including emerald mining barons, multinational companies, drug traffickers and paramilitary groups — are taking control of land intended for poor farmers. Sometimes land is taken through coercion and violence, sometimes through legal sales that compensate farmers well below the market value of the property.

    [Reporting sponsored by donations made through the Catalogue for Philanthropy.]