Click 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.
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.]
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/.
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.]
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.]
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.
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
Ricardo Sandoval Palos
Catalogue for Philanthropy – Greater Washington
Investigative Reporters and Editors
Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University
Society of Environmental Journalists
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
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.
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.]
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.
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.]
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.
December 12th, 2016
The 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.]