A Letter From FIJ President Mark Greenblatt on the Coronavirus and How You Can Support Journalists Right Now

Dear friends,

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surpassed one million. People I know have lost fathers, aunts and wives. The decisions our governments (at the local, state and federal levels) are making right now will literally mean the difference between life and death. Yet the economic toll of COVID-19 has begun to cannibalize parts of our already depleted media community, which we depend on to help us sort out truth from fiction. Far too many news organizations around the U.S. are announcing furloughs or layoffs of award-winning investigative reporters who need to remain active on the front lines.

For more than 50 years, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has been there for independent investigative reporters. We are there for them again right now. These reporters fill gaps in our industry by providing deep, insightful reporting that holds the powerful or inept accountable. FIJ has reached into its reserves and is offering new funding opportunities for COVID-19-related work, providing urgent funds on a rolling basis to those who have a good story idea but need just a little help to get them out to the world. Already, we have thrown our support behind groundbreaking work being done at Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation and by the Washington D.C. City Paper. More requests for urgent support are streaming in and under review. The stories these FIJ-supported projects and others will produce with our emergency grants are important and will make an impact in communities around the nation.

If you are anything like me, and wondering if you’re doing enough personally to support journalism at this perilous time, I am writing to tell you there is something you can do right now that will make a very big difference: support FIJ and the journalists we help.

Why donate to FIJ, when so many are in need? You know our mission and what we are good at:

  • FIJ takes a little bit of money and maximizes its reach, ensuring your support goes to high-impact projects to get them across the finish line.
  • Our grantees have recently won the Pulitzer Prize and other major national awards, and they have helped save lives.
  • Our board of accomplished journalists scrutinizes every grant application.
  • Importantly, our grantees become a part of our FIJ family, along with you. Together, we connect them with seasoned mentors through a program backed by the Scripps Howard Foundation. We partner with the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press to provide critical legal guidance on their FIJ-supported projects.

When you support FIJ you help provide journalists with an entire package of resources for finishing their work, at this urgent moment.

One recent grantee, Mosi Secret, was so moved by our support that he wrote: “Doing investigative reporting as a freelancer is so difficult, but with systems of support like FIJ, it is possible to do ambitious work.”

Time and again FIJ grantees have proven that one reporter, given proper support to dig deep, can make a profound difference in our world. Whether you have $5 or $5,000 to give, FIJ is a trusted, safe bet to put your money to work during these uncertain times. Please don’t wait for Giving Tuesday — support us now in our shared mission by clicking here and making a donation today of whatever you can afford.

Warmest regards,
Mark Greenblatt
President, FIJ