August 22nd, 2016
By Roza Hovhannisyan
With the assistance of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I attended the Summer Conference of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London on July 14-16, 2016. It was an excellent opportunity to improve my professional skills. The three-day conference included training sessions on various topics, and over 150 journalists from different countries of the world could choose panels that were most useful to them.
What new things did I learn from this course?
The focus of the CIJ Summer Conference was very much on data, with a wide range of sessions, from hands-on workshops to case studies.
The most effective topics for me were the following:
- How to get the most out of the data tracks for maximum impact;
- The power of data analysis for stories;
- Finding patterns in the data;
- Method Through the Madness; and
- Creative techniques.
The session delivered by Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier, the two German journalists who played a large role in the reporting on the Panama Papers, was especially useful and provided me with lots of new journalistic insights.
How should an investigative journalist collect the documents and data needed for his or her article? What principles should he or she follow to write an objective and interesting article? I received answers to these questions during the three-day conference.
I would like to add that during this visit I discovered London because it was my first visit there. Visiting other countries is important for a journalist to expand their knowledge. I was able to do that thanks to the financial assistance of FIJ for which I am grateful.
[Editors note: Hovhannisyan is a journalist for Lragir.am in Yerevan, Armenia.]
August 12th, 2016
(Las Vegas) Directors of journalism grant and fellowship programs described the “transformative” impact the programs have on reporters’ careers, during a panel discussion at the 2016 national convention of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), being held August 10-13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Among the panelists, Sandy Bergo of the Fund for Investigative Journalism described how its four decades-long grants program has helped reporters break big stories, such as the My Lai massacre.
And she introduced a new diversity initiative that will award grants and fellowships with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism to women and journalists of color, to help address the lack of diversity in the field of investigative reporting.
The FIJ/Schuster initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »
August 9th, 2016
By Idris Akinbajo
LONDON — Gavin MacFadyen’s passion could be heard in his voice as he welcomed the scores of journalists and media professionals gathering for a three-day investigative journalism conference organized by the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London.
Journalism in the UK and indeed globally was at a crucial stage, said MacFadyen, the centre’s director. Only good investigative journalism, he said, can help restore public confidence in the Fourth Estate.
For three days, the attendees took part in seminars and training sessions at the Goldsmith University of London. As expected by anyone who has attended such journalism conferences, the first challenge facing an attendee was always deciding what sessions to attend.
While the sessions involved various investigative techniques like story mapping, sourcing and so on, my primary interest was data journalism.
Read the rest of this entry »
August 8th, 2016
(Washington) The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $52,000 in grants to support the expenses of 14 investigative journalists working on stories in 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, and equipment rental.
The grantees are: Read the rest of this entry »
August 4th, 2016
(Washington) If you’ve got a great story, you can find the funding to get it done. That was the message from Phillip Martin, WGBH-Boston senior investigative reporter and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.
“There’s always a place for good journalism and there’s always funding for good journalism,” he told a packed conference room at the 2016 convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists, held in Washington DC this week.
Martin has won several grants and fellowships that allowed him to pursue stories that he wanted to do but his employer could not afford. His stories on human trafficking were honored with the national Edward R. Murrow Award. A 2012 fellowship from the International Center for Journalists financed the travel.
If a grant or fellowship application is turned down, “do not give up,” said Martin. Oftentimes, an applicant can find out why the proposal was rejected, do extra research, resubmit and get the grant.
Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) president Ricardo Sandoval Palos moderated the panel on “Finding Funding,” and announced that several organizations have launched initiatives this year to provide training, grants and fellowships, specifically targeted for journalists of color, to address the “embarrassing dearth” of investigative reporters of color in the U. S.
Partnering with the Schuster Institute, FIJ has launched one of those initiatives, financed by the Ford Foundation, offering $9,000 grants paired with Schuster fellowships to women and journalists of color. Applications are being taken now through October 1 at investigate.submittable.com. Read the rest of this entry »
July 26th, 2016
From inewsource reporters Chris Young and Ingrid Lobet, an investigation into how a buying binge of power plants led to a boost in electricity rates for San Diego residents, now among the highest in the nation. Deals were struck that may have also set the stage for ongoing criminal investigations. Inewsource is a San Diego based nonprofit news organization.
[Reporting sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]
Photo credit: Megan Wood
July 13th, 2016
By Rosalia Omungo
NEW ORLEANS — It all began with a tweet from a lady working in an organization concerned about governance of water bodies such as rivers. On responding to the tweet, she informed me of the danger that was being posed to Lake Turkana in Kenya due to the construction of Gibe 111 dam in Ethiopia, urging me to follow up on the story. I went a notch higher and presented a proposal to the Fund for Investigative Journalism to investigate the story, which was accepted. It is because of this investigative series that highlighted the plight of Kenyans and even Ethiopians that I landed an opportunity to attend the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in New Orleans in June 2017.
It was a time for the crème de la crème in investigative reporting globally to converge in New Orleans to share their work and share ideas on how to make investigative reporting better. Sessions explored several themes ranging from data journalism, health reporting freelancing and business journalism. I was happy to be a panelist in the session on uncovering stories on the environmental beat, alongside other journalists from the Society for Environmental Journalists (SEJ). I was able to share my work in environmental reporting in Kenya with conference participants.
My presentation focused on Gibe III dam in Ethiopia, its connection to Lake Turkana in the North of Kenya and the predicament facing residents who rely on the Lake for water for domestic purposes. The audience applauded the Turkana reporting for the series #Lake TurkanaUnder Siege, saying it was an important avenue for the vulnerable community to share their plight. Read the rest of this entry »
July 8th, 2016
As reported in Nonprofit Quarterly, “For journalism to be ingenious, groundbreaking, and accurate, we need a plethora of voices. Recognizing the value of diverse perspectives, the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University are partnering to distribute a grant from the Ford Foundation to support female journalists and journalists of color.”
June 24th, 2016
Throughout the year, the Georgia News Lab has been responsible for stories that expose unethical practices in Georgia government. The Georgia News Lab is an innovative model for training diverse journalists from historically black universities. It combines classroom training with the real-world practice of journalism side-by-side with professionals at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) and WSB-TV. The results are impressive: student reporting teams, coupled with AJC reporters, produced investigations that broke news. In one story they reported on a state lawmaker who had not disclosed state payments to his private business. Another uncovered special interest campaign contributions to a candidate who had pledged not to accept such donations. The team also documented the wide-spread disregard by Atlanta judges in complying with financial disclosure requirements.
[Reporting sponsored by The Gannett Foundation.]
Photo courtesy of the Georgia News Lab
June 24th, 2016
Francesca Lyman’s investigation of a for-profit thrift store chain which does more than $1.2 billion in business a year, while masquerading as a charity, has won an Arlene Award for Writing that Makes a Difference. The award comes from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), which honors outstanding nonfiction work produced on a freelance basis each year.
The story was reported for InvestigateWest with support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
ASJA is the professional association of independent nonfiction writers, founded in 1948, with more than 1200 members who have each met exacting standards of professional achievement.