The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Deadline: Feb. 4, 2019 (11:59 pm Eastern)

  • Applications Due Monday June 10

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) seeks proposals for investigative projects from independent journalists for grants to cover travel and other reporting expenses. The next deadline is 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, June 10, 2013.

    FIJ is interested in proposals that break new ground and expose wrongdoing. Projects from ethnic media are strongly encouraged.

    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.

    On FIJ’s home page, click on “Apply for a Grant” for detailed instructions, requirements, and online application form. The FIJ board announces the grant decisions about six weeks after the application deadline. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact executive director Sandy Bergo with questions about the process, 202-662-7564, or fundfij@gmail.com.

    Nutrient Shortage Endangers Premies

    3 yr old Paige ColmerFrom Alexandra Robbins for Washingtonian Magazine, the story of a critical shortage of nutrients needed to keep children born prematurely alive. An excerpt from the article: “Doctors and pharmacists say that because of nationwide shortages caused by a combination of factors – manufacturing problems, a market with few incentives for companies to produce low-profit drugs, and the government’s delayed and inadequate action – thousands of patients are being malnourished…

    “Tens of thousands of patients rely on IV nutrition at home, where home health care companies send them supplies… ‘You just kind of have to pray,’ says Kristina Colmer, a mother in Midland, Maryland, whose three year old daughter Paige has been on PN [parenteral nutrition] since birth. ‘PN is what keeps her alive, so these shortages are terrifying us.’ The family’s home health care company hasn’t been able to get zinc, phosphorous, or calcium, and Paige hasn’t received IV pediatric multivitamins in more than a year.”

    Photo of 3 year old Paige Colmer, courtesy of Kristina Colmer.

    Farm Chemicals Polluting Wisconsin Waters

    Lake-Monona-1024x768From the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, an investigation by Kate Golden of chemicals used on Wisconsin farms and feed lots that run off and pollute natural bodies of water. An excerpt:

    “Despite growing evidence of risks, state and federal governments have issued little guidance on how much of these suspected endocrine disruptors in our lakes, streams and groundwater constitute danger for fish, wildlife or people. These chemicals are largely unregulated.

    Wisconsin has not systematically looked for endocrine disruptors statewide. Research and regulation of them is poorly funded and loosely coordinated, according to a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism review of records and interviews with government officials and environmental experts.

    ‘We’re not a building full of bureaucrats ignorant to the problem,’ said Brad Wolbert, chief of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’s recycling and solid waste program. ‘It’s just that it’s a really big problem.’”

    Grants Available for Investigative Journalists

    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. Applications are now being accepted. The deadline to submit a proposal is 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, June 10, 2013.

    FIJ is interested in proposals that break new ground and expose wrongdoing. Projects from ethnic media are strongly encouraged.

    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.

    On FIJ’s home page, click on “Apply for a Grant” for detailed instructions, requirements, and online application form. The FIJ board announces the grant decisions about six weeks after the application deadline. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact executive director Sandy Bergo with questions about the process, 202-662-7564, or fundfij@gmail.com.

    Immigration Stops in Delaware Valley

    checkpoints_600x400From Emma Jacobs of WHYY – Philadelphia, the story of traffic checkpoints used to catch undocumented immigrants.

    An excerpt: “Thomas Decker, the head of ICE’s regional enforcement and removal operations, said that during operations such as those in Norristown, immigration officials exercise independent judgment in each case.

    ‘Once we determine alienage, then is it somebody that falls into a priority. And if they fall into a priority then we can take enforcement action,’ Decker said.

    However, the very nature of the traffic checkpoints leads to immigration officers encountering and detaining people they wouldn’t otherwise prioritize for public safety reasons.”

    Maximum Access: The Campaign Aide-Turned-Lobbyist

    consultantsFrom City Limits, a report on New York campaign consultants who help elect, then lobby their candidates.  An excerpt: “The firms that both consult and lobby turn the typical pay-to-play concerns of government watchdogs on their head. The issue here is not who’s giving money to a campaign, but who’s receiving candidates’ money—in exchange for valuable help. Consultants are, according to political observers, vital components of any operation: They are in many instances the quarterbacks of campaigns, plotting get-out-the-vote efforts, crafting media strategy and exploiting the weaknesses of the opposition. By accepting or rejecting a client, skilled consultants can significantly affect the odds of a campaign succeeding.

    ‘When a firm helps someone get elected to office, that firm may have an easier time getting access to that office when they’re trying to influence how they’re going to vote on a particular issue,’ says Bill Mahoney, the New York Public Interest Group’s legislative research coordinator.”

    Deep State: Inside the Secrecy Industry

    deep stateFrom D.B. Grady and Marc Ambinder, an investigation into secrecy and leaks, based on thousands of recently declassified documents and interviews with more than one hundred officials. From the book jacket: “Real secrets can’t be kept, trivial ones are held forever, and sensitive ones are far too susceptible to political manipulation.”

    An excerpt from Chapter One: “With so many secret keepers, it is remarkable how well the secrecy apparatus has kept classified material that might be devastating to the state under wraps. The Bradley Manning WikiLeaks incident of 2010 is heretofore a black swan event. Its execution and impact was astonishing, yet in retrospect somehow obvious and inevitable. More astonishing, perhaps, is that the U.S. government seemed to have no contingency plans or response mechanisms in place. Manning wasn’t cashing in. He wasn’t attempting to overthrow the Republic. He wasn’t blackmailed. He wasn’t an agent for foreign intelligence.

    “In fact, the direct intervention of foreign powers isn’t the cause of most leaks, and foreign spies aren’t where the information ends up. More often than not, the first place a leaked secret heads is the Internet.”

     

    Under All-Seeing Eyes

    traffic lightsFrom Shawn Musgrave for the Boston Globe, concerns about the privacy of law abiding motorists whose whereabouts are tracked by the expanding reach of law enforcement technology.

    An excerpt from the article: “… high-tech license readers, now mounted on 87 police cruisers statewide, scan literally millions of license plates in Massachusetts each year, not only checking the car and owner’s legal history, but also creating a precise record of where each vehicle was at a given moment. The records can be enormously helpful in solving crimes — for example, Fitchburg police used the technology to catch a serial flasher — but they increasingly make privacy advocates uneasy.

    Use of the technology is outstripping creation of rules to prevent abuses such as tracking the movements of private citizens, or monitoring who visits sensitive places such as strip clubs, union halls, or abortion clinics. A survey of police departments that use automated license readers found that fewer than a third — just 17 out of 53 — have written policies, leaving the rest with no formal standards for who can see the records or how long they will be preserved.”

    The Profit in Criminalizing Immigrants

    Prisoner takeoverFrom Forrest Wilder of the Texas Observer, the story of an aggressive federal immigration policy that fills the cells of privately run prisons.

    An excerpt from Wilder’s report: “Instead of simply detaining undocumented immigrants who have done nothing more than cross the border and sending them out of the country or releasing them, the U.S. government would now file criminal charges and send them to prison. [Jose] Rios was charged with illegal re-entry, a federal immigration felony that earned him a 14-month sentence, much of it spent in a notorious private prison in South Texas. Rios pleaded guilty, as do 97 percent of all immigration-related defendants.”

    (Photo: 2009 riot in protest of poor conditions at West Texas private prison)

    FIJ Awards Grants to Investigative Journalists

    WASHINGTON – The Board of Directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $42,000 in grants for ten investigative projects.

    The grants provide the resources necessary to travel 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 Gannett Foundation, The Herb Block Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein 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:

    Rick Cohen, whose reporting focuses on nonprofits and foundations

    Laura Kasinof, freelance reporter

    Trey Kay, radio journalist and documentary maker

    Chris Kromm, Facing South, North Carolina-based online magazine

    Erin Siegal McIntyre, Tijuana-based investigative writer and photographer

    Brandon Quester and Tarryn Mento, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

    Alexandra Robbins, author

    Matt Rusling, reporter specializing in covering Asia

    Joseph Sorrentino, Albuquerque-based journalist and photographer

    Laird Townsend, director, Project Word

    FIJ grantees investigate corruption, malfeasance, and abuse of power in the public and private sectors. Past awardees have exposed wrongdoing by private food producing companies, religious leaders, local district attorneys, and the FBI – to name a few examples.

    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 Sidney Hillman Foundation Journalism Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors awards, 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 the Dykema law firm.

    Links to FIJ-supported projects are posted on www.fij.org. Grant application instructions can also be found on the website. Contact executive director Sandy Bergo, 202-662-7564, or fundfij@gmail.com with any questions about the application process. The next deadline for applications is Monday, June 10, 2013 – 5pm Eastern Time.