News from FIJ
The Fund for Investigative Journalism, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and The Chicago COVID-19 Journalism Fund, will hold a webinar on Thursday, April 9, at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time to answer your questions about their ongoing emergency coronavirus grants for independent journalists in the U.S.
FIJ’s emergency rolling coronavirus grants for U.S.-based freelance journalists are set to immediately grant sums of up to $10,000 for pandemic stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing in the public or private sector. FIJ will issue grants within 10 days of receiving a funding request.
The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism nonprofit founded by author Barbara Ehrenreich, is commissioning stories that examine how the coronavirus is increasing inequality in this country. Grants range from $500 for an op-ed to $15,000 for a documentary. Please visit EconomicHardship.org/submissions for further information.
The Chicago COVID-19 Journalism Fund is accepting applications through April 15 from nonprofit and commercial media organizations based in and serving the communities of northeastern Illinois. The grants are intended to support media organizations meeting community information needs related to COVID-19 and is prioritizing support for smaller outlets serving vulnerable communities, especially communities of color and people speaking languages other than English, and helping to fill gaps in critical coverage on the pandemic and its impacts.
How to join the webinar
At the scheduled time, please join the Zoom meeting using this URL: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/746426392
Enter the meeting ID: 746-426-392
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.
For more information please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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’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.
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.
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.”
We could still use contributions to meet the terms of a $10,000 challenge grant given to FIJ for our 50th Anniversary. Please pledge.
Fund for Investigative Journalism former Board President Ricardo Sandoval Palos and Director of Operations Ana Arana were at the Excellence in Journalism 2019 conference organized by the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association. Sandoval Palos and Arana led a panel on how freelance journalists can apply for grants. Joining them on the panel were former FIJ grantees Johnny Magdaleno and Jenni Monet, who shared tips on how they found grant money for reporting expenses. “Independent investigative journalists do not have to go into debt to get a good story,” said Sandoval Palos. Monet said journalists should be careful about how they put together their budgets and former grantee Magdaleno said he kept applying for grants even after he was initially turned down. “You can always reach out to funders and ask how you can improve your pitch,” he said.
Pulitzer Center Communications and Inclusion Manager Jin Ding also participated in the panel.
Photo: Ana Arana, far left, Johnny Maldonado, Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, Jin Ding, center, and Jenni Monet, far right
Washington, August 29, 2019 – The Fund for Investigative Journalism is seeking a full-time executive director to succeed Sandy Bergo, who will be retiring at the end of the year, after leading the nonprofit for ten years. A search committee is actively seeking candidates. Here is the job posting:
Who We Are
For 50 years, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has financed reporting projects that expose injustice, government wrongdoing, corporate malfeasance, and abuses of human and environmental rights. The Fund is the nation’s leading nonprofit supporting independent investigative journalists whose work is published in established media outlets around the world. Each year, the Fund awards dozens of grants to help reporters complete their investigations, and provides mentors, access to legal advice and fellowships to diversify the profession. FIJ-supported projects have been awarded many journalistic honors, including three Pulitzer Prizes (recently the 2019 Pulitzer for General Nonfiction), two National Magazine Awards, the Raymond Clapper Award, the George Polk Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award, the Worth Bingham Prize, and the New York Newspaper Guild’s Front Page Award. Authors working on books with an FIJ grant have won the Frank Luther Mott Award for the best-researched media book, as well as the MacArthur Foundation’s coveted “genius” award.
Who You Are
You have a desire to make the world better by funding high-impact investigative reporting projects that would not be possible without support from FIJ. You connect donors to FIJ’s mission and help each one understand how their support makes a difference. You are skilled at finding new resources and partners to expand FIJ’s work. You are an ambassador for high-quality journalism and the First Amendment. You understand how to reach out to freelance reporters and journalism networks about FIJ’s benefits. You have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and bring that to bear in both programming and grant-making for the organization. You are a self-starter, and if you do not know the answer to a problem you are able to find the people who do. You have experience managing people, developing budgets, and overseeing multiple projects and contractors. Preferably, you have worked with nonprofits and boards of directors. While FIJ has historically been led by someone who lives in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, that is not a requirement for the right applicant who has a demonstrated ability to manage remotely and who could be present for all board meetings and program activities.
As executive director, you will provide strategic and operational leadership to FIJ and will report to FIJ’s board of directors. You will:
● Lead the growth of FIJ by nurturing current funders and partners, developing new revenue sources and partnerships, and expanding the number of reporting grants given out annually. ● Oversee the grant-making program by ensuring proposed projects are properly evaluated for news value, journalistic integrity and quality. Manage all supporting programs, including FIJ’s mentor program, diversity fellowships and legal support partnership. ● Develop and execute a strategy that ensures FIJ will support high-quality, high-impact investigative journalism for many years to come. With your leadership, the organization will increase its financial capacity to support the role of the free press in our democracy. ● Collaborate effectively with the board of directors on strategy and operations, ensuring a unity of vision and a transparent relationship. ● Ensure the fiscal integrity and legal compliance of the organization by managing the annual budget, enforcing fiscal controls, and otherwise ensuring policies and records are accurate and current. ● Communicate FIJ’s purpose and accomplishments with vigor and clarity, through personal relationships and the best use of current technology, including a dynamic website and social media plan.
Interested individuals should submit a cover letter, resume and any supplemental material to: FIJleadership@gmail.com The Fund for Investigative Journalism is an equal opportunity employer and offers a competitive compensation and benefits package.
WASHINGTON — Fund for Investigative Journalism Executive Director Sandy Bergo today announced that she will retire at the end of 2019. Bergo has led the organization since she was appointed by the Board of Directors in 2010.
“Sandy has brought significant growth and great passion to FIJ,” said Board of Directors President Marcia Bullard. “She has provided exceptional leadership and we will miss her influence. Because of Sandy’s work, FIJ has been able to support many more journalists’ projects. Sandy has set us on a course for strong future growth.”
A search for a new executive director is underway. The board has named a search committee headed by Mark Greenblatt of Scripps Washington Bureau. It includes Anu Narayanswamy of the Washington Post, David Boardman of the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University and Susanne Reber of Scripps Washington Bureau.
Under Bergo’s leadership, FIJ has significantly increased its fundraising and expanded the number of grants provided each year to independent investigative journalists. Bergo also established programs that provide legal guidance and mentoring services to grant recipients and created a fellowship program that helps expand opportunities for journalists of color.
“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. And it’s been a blast to work with a nonprofit board of accomplished journalists who devote their time and talents to ensuring that FIJ fulfills its mission,” said Bergo.
Bergo is a longtime investigative reporter. During her tenure with FIJ, she continued her investigative reporting work, freelancing for the Better Government Association of Chicago. Before joining FIJ, she was a producer on the investigative teams at WBBM-TV in Chicago and WJLA-TV in Washington, a writer at the Center for Public Integrity, and a freelance reporter.
She and her husband, journalist Chuck Neubauer, reside in the Washington, D.C., area.
FIJ is marking its 50th anniversary of making grants to support the work of independent investigative journalists. Grant recipients have won three Pulitzer Prizes – including the 2019 Pulitzer for general nonfiction – the Peabody Award, a National Magazine Award and the MacArthur Foundation’s genius grant, among others. The nonprofit is based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, contact FIJleadership@gmail.com.
FIJ, NAHJ, and the Miami Herald Media Company Partner in Fellowship to Promote Investigative Reporting Opportunities
(Washington, D.C.) – August 27, 2019 – The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and the Miami Herald Media Company today announced a fellowship project that seeks to expand investigative reporting opportunities for diverse journalists.
The unique partnership will offer freelance journalists an opportunity to complete an investigative project that digs into issues of consequence and of interest to readers of the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald. The content produced during the three-month fellowship will be edited and published by the Miami Herald Media Company’s flagship publications – the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald – in both English and Spanish. The fellow will receive a $30,000 grant financed by FIJ and NAHJ. Miami Herald Media Company will provide the fellow with workspace and other editorial support. The fellowship will fund work-related travel, and other expenses, plus a stipend.
“We are pleased to embark on this partnership that seeks to bring more diverse qualified individuals to investigative journalism,” said Marcia Bullard, board chairperson of FIJ. “This fellowship demonstrates our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“Finding different ways of funding stories that impact our communities is a necessary and important goal,” said Alberto B. Mendoza, executive director of NAHJ. “With this fellowship we show our commitment to fostering equal opportunity and to increase media representation from diverse communities,” said Mendoza.
“Investigative journalism is at the core of what we do,” said Aminda Marqués González, executive editor and publisher of the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald. “We are thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking collaboration.” The Miami Herald has won 22 Pulitzer prizes, including three in the last 10 years.
“What we are looking for are proposals for stories that uncover something we didn’t know and engages our readers,” said Nancy San Martin, managing editor of el Nuevo Herald. “We want the kind of storytelling that gets readers to pause, think, share, discuss, react; journalism with the wow-factor.”
The partnership comes as FIJ celebrates its 50th anniversary and NAHJ celebrates its 35th year. All partners involved in the project believe promoting diversity in investigative journalism will increase public awareness and understanding of under-reported issues.
The deadline for proposals will be Oct. 7th. To apply please go to FIJ.org
Sandy Bergo, Executive Director, FIJ, email@example.com
Alberto B. Mendoza, Executive Director, NAHJ, ABMendoza@nahj.org
Nancy San Martin, Managing Editor, el Nuevo Herald, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Fund for Investigative Journalism
The Fund for Investigative Journalism helps fund groundbreaking investigative stories that otherwise would not be told. FIJ issues a call three or four times a year to freelance and independent investigative journalists to apply for grants. Successful applicants can use the money for travel, data, documents and other reporting expenses.
About the National Association of Hispanic Journalists
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,300 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.
About the Miami Herald Media Company
The Miami Herald Media Company (MHMC) publishes two daily newspapers: the Miami Herald, winner of 22 Pulitzer Prizes, and el Nuevo Herald, an award-winning Spanish-language publication. Together, the company’s products reach more than 1.3 million people each week in South Florida. In addition to the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, MHMC products include its news websites, MiamiHerald.com and elNuevoHerald.com with a combined monthly traffic of 62.9 million pageviews and 22.6 million unique visitors; the popular local entertainment website Miami.com; and INDULGE luxury magazine. The company produces content for video, mobile and radio in association with WLRN/Herald News; as well as custom publications for hotels, airlines and other luxury clients through its subsidiary, HCP Media. MHMC is owned by McClatchy.
FIJ is pleased to announce that the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation has again approved a donation of $25,000 to support our grants for domestic investigations.
We also received a $5,000 donation that will go to a challenge grant of $25,000, given earlier this year by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. That leaves $20,000 to be raised before December 31. Please donate.
FIJ board member Lottie Joiner and Director of Operations Ana Arana answered questions from journalists about the best way to get story ideas funded. Joiner encouraged journalists at the gathering to not be afraid to take the plunge and apply for grants to complete stories. Also participating in the session were the Pulitzer Center’s senior editor Tom Hundley.
Ana Arana, left, Lottie Joiner, center, and Tom Hundley
The board of directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $57,000 in 10 grants to investigative journalists in its most recent round of funding.
The grants will help cover the costs of reporting work, such as travel, document fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
The grant recipients are:
Peter Byrne, a Northern California-based investigative journalist and science writer,
Pamela Dempsey, executive director of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting,
Bridget Hickey, a reporting fellow with the Columbia Journalism Investigations,
John Kelly, editor of The Chronicle of Social Change,
Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, a Michigan-based independent journalist,
Keith McQuirter, executive producer of Decoder Media, a New York City production company,
Vladimir Otasevic, a Montenegro-based investigative journalist,
Amanda Robb, a New York-based investigative journalist,
Mosi Secret, a New York-based investigative journalist,
Dylan Smith, editor of TucsonSentinel.com
Executive Director Sandy Bergo explained to a roomful of journalists the ins and outs of applying for a Fund for Investigative Journalism grant. In the tradition set forth by founder Philip Stern, who launched FIJ in 1969, Bergo described how the Fund awards up to $10,000 to reporters to pursue investigations on government corruption and wrongdoing. The session also honored FIJ’s 50th anniversary.
It was co-led with Steve Sapienza of the Pulitzer Center. The session was opened to include introductions from two other grant-makers: Laird Townsend of FIRE and Jane Sasseen of The McGraw Business Journalism Fellowship.
Steve Sapienza, left, and Sandy Bergo