WASHINGTON – (July 1, 2010) The Board of Directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded grants totaling $48,000 for thirteen investigative reporting projects that will be published or broadcast by local, regional, and overseas media.
The names and projects of recipients are confidential until their work is completed, but the topics supported by the latest round of Fund grants include investigations of the misuse of federal funds, corrupt public servants in the US and abroad, and unmitigated environmental hazards.
Many of the grants will support multi-media projects and emerging media, including nonprofit investigative centers and ethnic media in the United States. In addition to domestic stories, the Board approved funding for investigative projects in Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, South America, and Africa.
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’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai.
Since then, recipients of Fund grants have won nearly every major award in journalism, including another Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, and two National Magazine Awards.
Recently released work has continued to win accolades. Columbia University graduate students Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann were finalists for the 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors Student Award for their documentary on unlicensed surrogacy agencies. Reporting by Scott Carney on investigations of children kidnapped in India for adoption in America won the 2010 Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism award.
Links to their award winning work can be found on the FIJ website, www.fij.org, along with groundbreaking reports on the devastating second-generation health consequences from Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War, the abuse of prisoners at secret detention sites in Afghanistan, and the recycled use of lead and arsenic-laced ash from coal-burning power plants in construction materials throughout the United States.
Writers supported by the Fund have impact well after their initial work is published. Jason Berry’s reporting on sexual abuse by a prominent Roman Catholic priest was cited as groundbreaking in recent coverage by the New York Times.
The Fund was founded by Philip Stern, a progressive-minded philanthropist who believed that by putting a small amount of money into the hands of aggressive reporters, they would generate stories that would, as he put it, help “balance the scales of justice.” The Fund supports investigative projects solely through contributions from individuals and grants from private foundations such as the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.