The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Deadline: Sept. 24, 2018 (11:59 pm Eastern)

  • Colonias Allegedly Bilked of Anti-Poverty Funds

    Sunland Park NMFrom Sunland Park, New Mexico, a series by Kent Paterson of Frontera NorteSur on the uneven efforts to reverse years of neglect and environmental degradation of border town areas known as “colonias.” In Part One, Paterson reports on critically needed flood control measures that are improving conditions near affluent subdivisions, while the poverty-stricken Anapra neighborhood of Sunland Park waits its turn, again. In Part Two, we find out about lead and arsenic contamination that exceeds the EPA’s limits for residential areas. And in Part Three, Paterson details allegations of corruption that may have siphoned off funds that could have been the colonia’s best chance of developing into a livable place. Especially ironic: charges of using public funds for a personal spending spree are leveled at a one-time activist who had worked for passage of the 2010 Colonias Infrastructure Act.

    FIJ Proposals Due March 11

    WASHINGTON — A REMINDER: The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is seeking grant proposals for independent investigative projects from journalists who need support for travel and other reporting expenses.

    The deadline for proposals is 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, March 11.

    FIJ is interested in proposals for stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing.

    Projects relating to government accountability, economic inequities, and environmental issues in the United States, local or regional stories with national implications, and applications from ethnic media are strongly encouraged.

    FIJ grants are made possible through generous support from: the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, the Green Park Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, the Herb Block Foundation, The Nara Fund, the Otto-Whalley Family Foundation, and from the public.

    On FIJ’s website, www.fij.org, click on “Apply for a Grant” for application instructions.

    Energy Politics in North Carolina

    home-for-sale-signLeading up to the 2012 elections, Facing South, the online journal of The Institute for Southern Studies, investigated energy politics in North Carolina, producing dozens of reports. Among their findings: the negative impact on home values from gas drilling in communities dependent on well water, the dangers that fracking poses to workers, and efforts by utilities to pass expensive costs of new nuclear reactors on to consumers. Because of coverage by Facing South and other media outlets, the push to approve fracking in North Carolina was met with heightened media scrutiny and questions from state lawmakers and the public. In the end, the law lifting the state’s fracking ban was passed by a single vote cast in error.

    Landfill Use Up, Recycling Down in Iowa

    Iowa GarbageFrom Sarah Hadley and Sujin Kim of IowaWatch, a two part series on the unsustainable growth of landfills in the state.

    An excerpt from part one:

    “More than half of what Iowans dump into landfills could have been recycled or composted. In some areas, that amount is as high as 75 percent, landfill operators said. An IowaWatch investigation revealed that the gap between tons dumped into the ground and tons recycled at Iowa’s top five waste agencies is widening.

    And unless something changes, it’s set to stay that way because of a lack of available recycling programs, the way recycling and landfill programs are funded by the state, and poor record keeping.”

    Part two explores new incentives that could reverse the trend.

    Photo by Sujin Kim.

    FIJ Awards Grants to Investigative Journalists

    WASHINGTON – The Board of Directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $67,000 in grants for eighteen investigative projects.

    The grants provide the resources necessary to travel in the US and abroad to interview sources and research documentary evidence, and for other out-of-pocket expenses. FIJ’s grant-making program is made possible by support from the Herb Block Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Green Park Foundation, the Nara Fund, the Otto-Whalley Family Foundation, and generous donations from individuals.

    Investigative journalists receiving grants are:

    Cecelia Balli, Austin-based magazine writer

    Ashley Bates, California-based journalist

    Chad Bouchard, 100Reporters

    Kiera Butler, Oakland-based editor, Mother Jones

    Peter Byrne, reporter specializing in science writing

    Yvette Cabrera, reporter specializing in poverty, immigration and social issues

    Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman, reporter specializing in environmental issues

    Emma Jacobs, reporter, WHYY-Philidelphia

    Graham Kates, The Crime Report

    Todd Melby, reporter/producer, Prairie Public Broadcasting

    Shawn Musgrave, MuckRock News

    Ngoc Nguyen, San Francisco-based reporter and editor, New America Media

    Peggy Orchowski, Hispanic Outlook on Higher Education

    Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, reporter specializing in health care and neuroscience

    Ian Shearn, reporter specializing in human rights abuses and corporate accountability

    Mary Ann Swissler, reporter specializing in women’s issues, mental health and politics

    Maria Ines Zamudio, reporter, The Chicago Reporter

    Grantees investigate corruption, malfeasance, and misuse of power in the public and private sectors. Past awardees have exposed abuses of power by the FBI, by religious leaders, and in the criminal justice system – to name a few examples. FIJ keeps specifics of ongoing projects in confidence until they are completed.

    In addition to funding, interested grantees are eligible to receive mentors through partnerships with Investigative Reporters and Editors and with the Society of Environmental Journalists.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism is an independent, non-profit organization that has supported hundreds of public service reporting projects since 1969, when it provided funding for Seymour Hersh to investigate the massacre of civilians in My Lai during the Vietnam War. His stories won the Pulitzer Prize. Recent FIJ grantees have also won prestigious journalism awards, including the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Book Award, and the Sigma Delta Chi award.

    FIJ is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the Journalism Department in the College of Media at the University of Illinois. Pro bono legal services are provided by Dykema.

    Read more about FIJ-supported projects and instructions for grant applications at www.fij.org. The next deadline for applications is Monday, March 11. Inquiries about the application process are welcomed. Contact executive director Sandy Bergo, 202-662-7564, or fundfij@gmail.com.

    FIJ Seeks Grant Proposals

    WASHINGTON — The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) seeks grant proposals for independent investigative projects from journalists who need support for travel and other reporting expenses.

    The deadline for proposals is 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, March 11.

    FIJ is interested in proposals for stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing.

    Projects relating to government accountability, economic inequities, and environmental issues in the United States, local or regional stories with national implications, and applications from ethnic media are strongly encouraged.

    FIJ grants are made possible through generous support from: the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, the Green Park Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, the Herb Block Foundation, The Nara Fund, the Otto-Whalley Family Foundation, and from the public.

    Pro bono legal services are provided by Dykema. FIJ is also supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the Journalism Department in the College of Media at the University of Illinois.

    For more than forty years, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has supported work by independent and freelance reporters who have tips, ideas, and sources but lack the resources to do their investigations. Grants average $5,000. The awards support the costs of reporting, such as travel and document production expenses. Small stipends will be considered as part of the overall award.

    Grantees are also eligible for mentors recruited through partnerships with Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

    Grants are awarded three to four times a year. For the year 2013, proposals are due March 11, with additional deadlines planned for June, September, and December to be announced later in the year.

    Detailed application requirements can be found on the FIJ website: www.fij.org. FIJ also welcomes informal inquires about its application process. Call or email executive director Sandy Bergo, 202-662-7564, fundfij@gmail.com.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism depends on donations from foundations and individuals. Donations can be made online or by mail to The Fund for Investigative Journalism, 529 14th Street NW – 13th floor, Washington DC 20045.

    To receive regular notices of grant deadlines, send an email to fundfij@gmail.com.

    Alaskan Natives Tackle Youth Suicide

    Alaskan seal huntFrom Stephanie Woodard for Indian Country Today Media Network, a story of Native Americans coping with life-altering cultural changes in Alaska, which increases the risk of suicide, especially for teenaged boys and young men.

    An excerpt from Woodard’s report:

    The data shows that Alaska Native suicide occurs primarily among 15-24–year-olds. It’s also a recent phenomenon—rare until the 1960s, [scholar Lisa] Wexler says. By that time, mandatory-schooling regulations had forced the region’s traditionally nomadic people into sedentary villages. That altered life-ways and social structure, she explains. “For the first time, a sizeable number of young people were living together and were no longer an integral part of their family’s survival. Simultaneously, media and external influences grew.” Unemployment and lots of empty time exacerbated the difficulties of adjusting to the new life.

    Men and Boys at Risk
    Boys and young men have typically had a harder time coping with the modern Arctic than girls and young women, Wexler says. “Girls and women have generally been able to integrate traditional and contemporary roles. They know they’re valued for caring for siblings and elders and for having children of their own, as well as for doing well in school.” Males, on the other hand, often can’t afford to hunt, the activity that still defines manhood in the region. “It takes cash to hunt, for the snowmobile or boat, and for the gasoline to run them,” says Wexler.

    Photo by Marsh Chamberlain