News from FIJ

Impact Investigations Webinar: Immigration

Join us Thursday, September 3rd, at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Investigative journalism can deepen public understanding of U.S. immigration policies and practices – and can shine a light on injustice and abuses in the immigration system. 

The Fund for Investigative Journalism is partnering with palabra to hold an online forum, “Impact Investigations: Immigration,” to provide insights, lessons and tips for reporting the complex policy and human dynamics related to immigration. This webinar is part of an ongoing series of forums the Fund for Investigative Journalists is holding for journalists, students, academics and partners. 

The discussion will be led by Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, a veteran investigative journalist and author who serves as Public Editor at PBS and Managing Editor of palabra (a growing multimedia platform affiliated with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists). Sandoval-Palos serves on the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s Advisory Board and has covered immigration extensively throughout his career. 

The discussion will include journalists who recently published three stories related to immigration, with grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism:

  • Jenny Manrique, whose story Air COVID-19: Deportation Flights Seed Coronavirus in Latin America was published by palabra in July. Manrique is a freelance journalist who previously worked for the Dallas Morning News and Univision. 
  • William Martin and Enrique Unzueta, whose story US Asylum Shutdown Leaves LGBTQ+ People Stranded and in Danger in Mexico was published by The New Humanitarian in August. Martin is a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker specializing in immigration and environmental issues, and Unzueta is a freelance producer.
  • Silvia Vinas, whose story J vs. United States about immigrant detainees who say they were sexually assaulted in CBP custody aired on Radio Ambulante/NPR last year. Vinas is the Executive Producer and co-host of Radio Ambulante’s new podcast El hilo.

Register here for the September 3 forum.

FIJ Awards Two New Grants for Police Misconduct and Coronavirus Investigations

As part of our ongoing effort to support investigative journalists working on stories related to police misconduct and the coronavirus pandemic, we have awarded grants to two investigative journalists in the U.S. The grant recipients are:

Bradford Bailey, a Freelance reporter from Georgia and New York City.

Coronavirus Grant Recipient

Leah Sottile, a freelance journalist from Portland, Oregon

Police Misconduct Grant Recipient

Job Posting: Program Associate (part-time, with benefits)

The Fund for Investigative Journalism, which provides grants and support to journalists for groundbreaking investigative stories that have an impact, seeks a Program Associate to provide critical support. This position is a unique opportunity to support journalism that has a significant impact on society while also gaining exposure and skills in the nonprofit sector.

The organization:

The Fund for Investigative Journalism helps reporters produce stories that would often not be told otherwise. The Fund provides grants and critical support for about 50 unbiased, nonpartisan, high-quality investigative projects a year. Stories produced with the Fund’s support have sparked significant policy reforms at the local, state, federal and global levels and have won virtually every major journalism award, including multiple Pulitzer Prizes. The Fund is governed by a Board of experienced investigative journalists who review and vote on every grant application. 

The position:

In its 51st year, the Fund is expanding its reach and impact, and it seeks a part-time Program Associate to help support this growth. The Program Associate is a critical support role, responsible for maintaining administrative systems and records, tracking grants and projects, and drafting material. The Program Associate reports to the Executive Director.

Responsibilities and duties:

  • Track the work of grantees; monitor completion and impact; maintain spreadsheets of current and past grants and ongoing impact; produce reports on grants.
  • Coordinate, track and maintain records on other support the Fund provides to grantees, such as mentorship and legal assistance. 
  • Maintain the Fund’s organizational files (both physical and electronic), including policies, proposals, reports, correspondence, Board material and archival information.
  • Maintain organizational calendar with key events and deadlines. 
  • Manage database of donors and constituents. 
  • Correspond with grantees and applicants as needed. 
  • Draft articles and other content about grantees’ work and FIJ’s programs for website, newsletters, funder reports and other purposes. 
  • Process payments to grantees and vendors.
  • Assist with developing and posting website and social media content and strategy as needed.
  • Provide administrative support to the Executive Director as needed. 

Professional skills required

Exceptional organizational skills are essential. Other key capacities include: ability to juggle multiple projects and tasks simultaneously; comfort working both collaboratively and independently; ability to balance multiple short-term tasks with longer-term projects; and strong writing skills. 

Technology skills/knowledge required:

Advanced knowledge of Excel and WordPress is essential. Familiarity with Google’s full suite of cloud-based operations is also required. Familiarity with Quickbooks is preferred. 

Experience:

  • Experience in journalism is strongly preferred. 
  • Two or more years of experience in operational or support roles is required. 
  • Experience writing quickly, clearly and effectively is required. 

Specifications:

  • This is a part-time position (20 hours a week), paying approximately $22 an hour, or a rate commensurate with experience.
  • Compensation includes contribution to health insurance coverage through a small-business health reimbursement plan, as well as paid time off.
  • The position is ideally located in Washington, DC, but there is flexibility for candidates who would work remotely from other locations.
  • People of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. 

To apply:

Please send a cover letter and resume to FIJstaffing@gmail.com

 

Watch: How to Get a Grant from FIJ

The Fund for Investigative Journalism provides grants to reporters to produce high-quality, unbiased, nonpartisan investigative stories that have an impact.

The next deadline for regular grants is September 14. FIJ also provides emergency grants for investigative journalism related to the COVID-19 pandemic or police misconduct, and those are reviewed on a rolling basis.

This 30-minute webinar offers guidance and advice on how to apply for grants and what makes a grant application successful. In it, you will hear from a member of FIJ’s Board of Directors and a past grantee, and you’ll learn:

 

  • The criteria and requirements to be eligible for grants
  • What FIJ’s Board of Directors looks for in grant applications
  • How a recent grantee developed and presented her application

“How to Get a Grant” – A 30-Minute Webinar from the Fund for Investigative Journalism

Join us Tuesday, August 11, at 1 p.m. Eastern.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism provides grants to reporters to produce high-quality, unbiased, nonpartisan investigative stories that have an impact.

The next deadline for regular grants is September 14. FIJ also provides emergency grants for investigative journalism related to the COVID-19 pandemic or police misconduct, and those are reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Join us for a 30-minute webinar to learn more about how to apply for grants and what makes a grant application successful. You’ll hear from a member of FIJ’s Board of Directors and a past grantee, and you’ll learn:

  • The criteria and requirements to be eligible for grants
  • What FIJ’s Board of Directors looks for in grant applications
  • How a recent grantee developed and presented her application

The webinar is free, and participants will be able to ask questions. The session will be moderated by Eric Ferrero, Executive Director of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. The featured speakers are:

Joe Stephens, a member of FIJ’s Board of Directors. Stephens, a veteran investigative journalist who worked on the Washington Post’s investigative team, is the Founding Director of the Program in Journalism at Princeton University.

Katti Gray, an award-winning freelance journalist who received a grant from FIJ for an investigation into the federal government’s treatment of Black farmers. Gray, whose stories have been published by CBS News, Reuters, Essence and more, directs programs at New York University’s Urban Journalism Workshop.

FIJ Awards Grants to Three Teams Investigating Police Misconduct Stories

As part of our ongoing effort to support investigative journalists working on stories related to police misconduct, we have awarded grants to three investigative teams in the U.S. The grant recipients are:

Tampa Bay Times

Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

Dallas Morning News

FIJ Awards Grants for Five New Investigative Projects

The board of directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded grants for five investigative projects in its most recent round of funding. The grants will help cover the costs of reporting, such as travel, document fees, and other expenses.

The grant recipients are:

Jake L. Bittle, a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn.

Peter Fairley, a freelance journalist focusing on energy and the environment.

David Lindorff, a Pennsylvania-based reporter.

Caio Freitas, a Brazilian freelance reporter focused on socio-environmental and human rights stories.

Caroline Sinders and Michael Isaac Stein, New Orleans-based reporters and researchers.

Fund for Investigative Journalism Announces Emergency Grants for Coverage of Police Misconduct

Fund strongly encourages applications from journalists of color, ethnic media and local media.

WASHINGTON, DC, June 11, 2020 – The Fund for Investigative Journalism today announced that it is offering immediate emergency grants for U.S.-based journalists working on investigative stories related to police misconduct.

The emergency grants are available for investigative journalism projects that break new ground and expose wrongdoing – such as corruption, malfeasance or misuse of power – in the public or private sectors related to police misconduct. The Fund for Investigative Journalism said it strongly encourages applications from journalists of color, ethnic media, and local media.

Journalists can apply for grants of up to $10,000. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and grant decisions will be made and communicated in less than two weeks from the time an application is received.

For more information, see the grant application.

“Strong investigative journalism has always played a critical role in exposing police misconduct, and our emergency grants will help more journalists dig deep into these important stories. Legislation is moving forward in many states to expand public access to records involving police misconduct, opening new opportunities for investigative journalists if they have the resources to pursue them,” said Eric Ferrero, Executive Director of the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Through the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s partnerships with the Scripps Howard Foundation and individual journalists, reporters who receive grants will have access to highly skilled mentors. Reporters who receive grants will also have access to legal assistance pre-publication through the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s partnership with the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism was founded in 1969, when its first major grant helped freelancer Seymour Hersh investigate a tip about a U.S. massacre of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. His subsequent reporting won a Pulitzer Prize and marked a turning point in opposition to the Vietnam War. Today, the Fund for Investigative Journalism is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting independent investigative journalists whose work is published in established media outlets. Stories supported by the Fund have won multiple Pulitzer Prizes and nearly every major award in journalism – and have sparked reforms at the federal, state and local levels on a range of issues, including police misconduct.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s Board of Directors, a group of highly accomplished journalists and news managers, makes grant decisions.

In late March, the Fund for Investigative Journalism began offering emergency rolling grants for coverage related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those rolling grants are still available. For more information, see the grant application.

WATCH: “Impact Investigations” Series Covering Race, Policing and Misconduct Full Webinar Recording

This webinar recording includes tips, lessons and insights on reporting complex stories surrounding race, policing and misconduct. The event was co-sponsored with the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. This webinar is the first in the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s new series of online forums, “Impact Investigations.”

“Impact Investigations” Series: Covering Race, Policing and Misconduct

Investigative journalism has long exposed police misconduct and uncovered the role and impact of racism in law enforcement. Today, journalists are documenting police misconduct and covering the national conversation about it – while also facing threats and a lack of protection at protests.  

The Fund for Investigative Journalism is hosting an online forum, “Covering Race, Policing and Misconduct,” on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 4 p.m. Eastern, which will include tips, lessons and insights on reporting these complex stories. The event is co-sponsored with the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The forum is the first in the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s new series of online forums, “Impact Investigations.”

The discussion will be led by Cheryl W. Thompson, investigative correspondent at National Public Radio and former investigative reporter at the Washington Post, and William K. Marimow, former Editor in Chief of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Baltimore Sun and former Vice President of News at National Public Radio. Thompson and Marimow both serve on the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s Board of Directors (Thompson as Vice President).

Thompson was part of the Washington Post team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a year-long series on police shootings in the U.S. Marimow won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his series of articles on Philadelphia police’s K9 unit, and he was part of the team that won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of articles on police misconduct in Philadelphia.

Thompson and Marimow will be joined for the conversation by reporters who have recently covered race, policing and misconduct with the support of grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, including:

  • Maddy Crowell and Sylvia Varnham, who published an investigative report in the Guardian about white supremacist groups in the U.S. recruiting police officers to join their organizations.
  • Nancy West, formerly of the New Hampshire Union Leader and now at the nonprofit InDepthNH.org. West’s recent report analyzing data from 30 years of police shootings sparked state legislation for independent reviews of such shootings, and she and several media outlets won a pair of State Supreme Court rulings last week striking down laws that kept police misconduct confidential.
  • Mosi Secret, an independent journalist in New York who previously worked as a reporter for the New York Times and ProPublica and has covered law enforcement from multiple angles. He is currently working on an in-depth investigative report. 
  • Joy Borkholder and Jason Buch, who published a report in InvestigateWest on Washington State Patrol stops and searches, finding that Native American people are searched five times more often than white people. Their report sparked a review by the State Legislature.

Fund for Investigative Journalism Announces Coronavirus Rolling Grant

The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is unveiling a new effort to provide immediate emergency grants to U.S.-based freelance investigative journalists working on stories on the coronavirus that break new ground and expose wrongdoing in the public or private sector.

We know the budgets of some journalism news outlets may be stressed during these uncertain economic times, potentially affecting freelance reporters. For the next few months, we will offer small grants of up to $10,000, on a rolling basis, for freelance investigative projects that have a strong U.S. angle involving American citizens, government or business. All stories must be published in English and have a media outlet in the United States. You do not have to wait for a standard application deadline — you can apply now.

FIJ encourages proposals written for ethnic media as well as those submitted by journalists of color and involving the impact of the coronavirus in U.S. ethnic communities.

FIJ was created in 1969 when another crisis, the Vietnam War, was looming. Our first major investment was a grant to freelancer Seymour Hersh who in 1969 needed a travel grant to investigate a tip about the U.S. military massacre of civilians in My Lai, Vietnam. Since then we have awarded $4.5 million in grants to freelance reporters, authors, and small publications.

Applicants should submit a proposal of no more than two pages, a letter of commitment from a publication, and a budget. We will approve grants on a rolling basis until further notice.

Read Our Coronavirus Grant FAQ Sheet!

For more information please write to fundfij@gmail.com.

FIJ Awards $91,000 to New Grantees

The board of directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded $91,000 in grants to 11 investigative projects in its most recent round of funding.

The grants will help cover the costs of reporting, such as travel, document fees, and other expenses. The grant recipients are:

Dagmar Thiel, Frank LaRue, independent journalists based in Washington, D.C.

Geoffrey Cain, investigative journalist and technology writer based in Washington, D.C.

Jo Napolitano, a freelance reporter, Brooklyn, New York.

Kambiz Fattahi, a journalist with the BBC.

Nathan Eagle, news editor, and Patti Epler, editor and general manager, at Honolulu Civil Beat.

Rebecca Clarren, freelance reporter and novelist based in Portland, Oregon.

Rebecca Renner, independent journalist, Daytona Beach, Florida.

Sara Ganim, freelance reporter, based in New York City.

Seth Rosenfeld, a freelance reporter based in San Francisco.

Tony Bartelme, senior project reporter with the Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier.

A collaborative project between the Chicago Reporter magazine (Fernando Diaz, Josh McGhee, Olivia Obineme, Asraa Mustufa, David Eads) and Medill School of Journalism graduate students (Emine Yucel, Adam Rhodes, Arnab Mondal, Shreya Bansal and Grace Asiegbu.)

FIJ Names New Board Leadership, Welcomes Bill Marimow to Board of Directors and New Members to Advisory Board

The new decade has brought some changes at FIJ. Three new officers were named to leadership positions on our Board of Directors after three esteemed members stepped down because of FIJ’s term limits. And Bill Marimow, formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer has joined the Board.

Former Treasurer, Mark Greenblatt, was elected President of the Board, Cheryl Thompson, Vice President,  and Alan Berlow, Treasurer. 

Board President Mark Greenblatt

Mark Greenblatt is the senior national investigative correspondent for the Scripps Washington Bureau. He is a three-time Peabody award-winner and the recipient of the IRE Medal, multiple national Edward R. Murrow awards, the Livingston Award, the duPont-Columbia Award, a national Emmy for investigative reporting. He is a two-time finalist for Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting.

Board Vice President Cheryl Thompson

Cheryl Thompson is an investigative correspondent for NPR. She also teaches investigative reporting as an associate professor of journalism at George Washington University. Prior to joining NPR in January 2019, Thompson was an investigative reporter for The Washington Post for 22 years. She has written extensively about law enforcement, political corruption and guns.

Board Treasurer Alan Berlow

Alan Berlow is a freelance reporter, a former foreign correspondent for NPR, and author of “Dead Season, A Story of Murder and Revenge on the Philippine Island of Negros.” His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic and Harper’s. Berlow has himself received two FIJ grants, in 1977 and 1991. He is a board member of the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation.

Bill Marimow Joins Board of Directors

Bill Marimow, former vice president of strategic development for The Philadelphia Inquirer, has joined the board of directors of FIJ.

As a reporter at The Inquirer, Marimow received the Pulitzer Prize for public service twice in 1978 and 1985.

“Bill Marimow’s addition to FIJ’s board ensures that investigative reporters nationwide who seek support for their work will have a smart, dedicated ally working to widen opportunities for them,” said FIJ President Mark Greenblatt.

“Bill has spent a storied career reporting and managing high-impact, carefully reported investigative projects. FIJ enthusiastically welcomes him.”

Four New Advisory Board Members

Marcia Bullard, Clarence Page and David Boardman, the dedicated officers who stepped down in December, 2019 have agreed to join our Advisory Board. Longtime FIJ Executive Director Sandy Bergo, who retired after 10 years of dedicated work, will also join them on the Advisory Board. 

 

“I’ve been privileged to see firsthand, of course, the great number of important stories that have been brought to light because FIJ funded the reporters working on them.”

Former Board President Marcia Bullard

“It has been an honor, a privilege and an education to serve on the FIJ board, especially in these times of diminishing resources and funding for traditional investigative reporting.”

Former Board Vice President Clarence Page

“Serving as an FIJ board member was one of the most rewarding, gratifying experiences of my career. Knowing that we were helping investigative journalists turn visions into reality, suspicions into evidence, was powerful and profound.”

Former Board Member David Boardman

“It’s been great fun to work with all the journalists who come to FIJ with stories they are burning to tell, and gratifying to help them get the resources they need.”

Former FIJ Executive Director Sandy Bergo

PROFILE: FIJ Mentor Pete Carey Lends 5 Decades of Journalism Experience to Grantees

A key component of FIJ’s program is recruiting and matching veteran reporters to mentor grantees. Mentors advise on reporting techniques, and also coach grantees through the writing phase. One grantee told us his mentor tutored him in the art of “unspooling” information.

This month, we profile our mentor Pete Carey, a Pulitzer Price winner who retired from the San Jose Mercury News.

By Pete Carey

For the past few months I’ve been putting five decades of journalism to use at the Fund for Investigative Journalism. I’m a mentor to some of the Fund’s grantees.

There aren’t many kinds of reporting I haven’t done. In more than 50 years I’ve done international, technology, defense, investigative, business and features reporting, and was even editor of a small town paper. But all that has been sitting on a shelf since I retired a couple years ago.
FIJ gives me a chance to help others.

Currently, I’m mentoring two smart science writers working on a book about earthquakes and modern energy; a seasoned journalist in Connecticut investigating the effectiveness of the state’s lead abatement programs in low income areas; and a young freelance journalist working on a dynamite story about a hidden aspect of our flawed immigration system.

It’s like being back in the game. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Thanks to the Scripps Howard Foundation for their support of our mentoring program. 

PROFILE: FIJ Mentor and Writing Coach Linda Jue on What Makes Her Job Special

Investigative reporters tend to spend most of their reporting and research time focused on acquiring the facts and data to document a wrongdoing. As a result, the fruit of their labor – the story – too often ends up dry and lifeless. The reader, listener or viewer is left feeling like they should care more than they do about the wrong that’s uncovered.

The best investigative reporting doesn’t just reveal the facts of a hidden injustice; it tells an evocative story that arouses the curiosity of the intended audience and holds their interest all the way to the end. A compelling story explores themes like unchecked power, corruption, discrimination, greed, and other human failings that drive the wrongdoing being reported on. It also portrays how the people affected respond to the problem, as well as asks whether viable solutions exist. Above all, a successful investigative story makes people care.

That’s where I come in. As an investigative features editor, I help FIJ grantees identify the themes that will liven up their stories. In one example, I worked with a grantee on a story about the sexual abuse of incarcerated women in a California prison. Her reporting was excellent, but her draft needed work. I worked with her to turn it into a more vital story that got to the heart of the power dynamics behind the abuse and the pre-existing emotional and physical damage that made these women extra vulnerable.

The grantee’s story, initially intended to appear only in a criminal justice trade publication, was picked up by The Guardian of London because of the unusual angle and compelling writing. It’s stories like this one that have made my job as an FIJ reporting and writing coach immensely rewarding.

By Linda Jue

Linda Jue is the editor & executive director of the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism

Thanks to the Scripps Howard Foundation for their support of our mentoring program. 

FIJ Board Member Clarence Page Celebrates 50th-Year Anniversary at the Chicago Tribune

FIJ’s Board Member, Clarence Page, is celebrating his 50th-year anniversary as a syndicated columnist at the Chicago Tribune. “Few writers across the country approach politics, culture, and race with the depth and scholarship that Page brings to each of his columns,” Tribune editors wrote in an editorial celebrating Page’s tenure. His long-time editor, Marcia Lythcott, who retired from the Tribune in 2018, said “He isn’t a doomsday columnist. He is, ‘We can do better, people.'”

An Ohio native, Page joined the Tribune in 1969 after graduating from Ohio University. Since 1991, he has worked from the Washington, D.C.,’s Tribune bureau. He has won two Pulitzers: one in 1972, as part of a Tribune team; the second one for commentary in 1989.

Page has been a regular guest of Sunday morning talk shows.  He was often on the McLaughlin Group, a political talk show that ran on public television for 34 years until it was canceled in 2016, after its long-time host, John McLaughlin, died. The show is being revived, and it will return to PBS stations nationwide early next year. Page will join a new host and other pundits, including Pat Buchanan.

FIJ Awards Grants to Nine Investigative Journalists

The board of directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $79,000 in grants to nine investigative journalists in its most recent round of funding.

The grants will help cover the costs of reporting, such as travel, document fees, and other expenses. The grant recipients are:

Tristan Ahtone, a member of the Kiowa Tribe and associate editor of the High Country News tribal affairs desk;

Karen Foshay, executive producer, and Tori Edgar, multimedia producer, of SoCal Connected, KCET’s weekly award-winning news documentary series;

Alex Cuadros, a freelance journalist who is the author of “Brazillionaires”;

Shirley Smith, a reporter with the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting;

Katherine Lewis, a Maryland-based independent journalist;

William Martin III, a New York-based freelance video journalist;

Chris Walker, a Denver-based freelance magazine writer;

Loretta Williams, an independent public media journalist;

Jonquilyn Hill, a radio producer at WAMU, in Washington, D.C.

 

New Funding Grants for 2020

Two funding grants came in at the end of October:  The Nara Fund, a long-standing supporter of FIJ, gave $25,000, acknowledging the “central role investigative journalism plays in preserving our democracy.”

 

The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, another loyal funder, nearly doubled their renewal grant from last year, approving a $50,000 award.

 

We could still use contributions to meet the terms of a $10,000 challenge grant given to FIJ for our 50th Anniversary. Please pledge.