News from FIJ

FIJ at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention

The Fund for Investigative Journalism organized a panel at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Miami, on August 7 to talk about the nitty-gritty of grants for journalists.

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

FIJ Awards Grants to 10 Investigative Journalists

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

A Postcard from FIJ Executive Director Sandy Bergo

At the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference, Houston, June 14.

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

FIJ Diversity Fellow featured at IRE Panel in Houston

Angelika Albaladejo, a Fund for Investigative Journalism Diversity Fellow working with The Marshall Project, was featured in a panel at the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Houston on June 13. The panel focused on how to report on people from marginalized communities.

Albaladejo, who has a background in foreign policy, talked about her experience as a freelance journalist in Medellin, Colombia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she worked for two years focusing on social justice, crime, corruption, and security. She said she decided to go to Latin America to gather stories that “weren’t just about being a victim.”  She said she learned it was important to not expose her sources to harm, “that the story is not more important than their safety.”

Albaladejo has been published by the Guardian, CNN, Splinter, the World Policy Journal and the British Medical Journal, among others.

Albaladejo chats with a conference participant after her presentation. FIJ photo

Tips to Get Grants and Fellowships with Sandy Bergo and Steve Sapienza

Come join us Friday, June 14, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for a brown bag lunch hosted by the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), in honor of its 50th Anniversary, at the 2019 IRE conference in Houston.

FIJ will team up with the Pulitzer Center to give out tips for winning reporting grants. FIJ Executive Director Sandy Bergo and Pulitzer Center Senior Strategist Steve Sapienza will explain the nitty-gritty of applying for grants and fellowships from both organizations and will answer any questions. Grab carry-out from one of the vendors at the hotel, then join us for the one-hour session in Kingwood, located on Level 3. We will provide drinks and desserts.

FIJ is a proud sponsor of the 2019 IRE conference     

Sandy Bergo (top) Steve Sapienza (bottom)         

Announcing FIJ’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

Join us at The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s 50th Anniversary Dinner featuring a Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh

Thursday, October 24, 2019
National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC

We hope you will join us as we celebrate investigative journalism’s achievements over the last fifty years.

Click here to purchase tickets

The Fund for Investigative Journalism was founded in 1969 by the late Philip M. Stern, a public-spirited philanthropist who devoted his life “to balancing the scales of justice,” in the words of a friend. Stern was convinced small amounts of money invested in the work of determined journalists would yield enormous results in the fight against racism, poverty, corporate greed, and governmental corruption. Stern’s theory proved true in the Fund’s first year, when a modest-sized grant enabled reporter Seymour Hersh to begin investigating a tip concerning a U.S. Army massacre at the Vietnamese village of My Lai.

And it’s still true today. A grant from the Fund helped author Eliza Griswold win a Pulitzer Prize this year for her book “Amity and Prosperity,” an investigation of the fracking industry.

For further information, contact event planner Ivory Zorich, ivory@ivoryzorich.com.

A Postcard from FIJ Executive Director Sandy Bergo

(On a break from the Reva & David Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting at the campus of the University of California – Berkeley.)

At the conference we heard Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists describe “how the sausage is made,” that is, how reporters come up with ideas, get interviews with reluctant sources, report in war zones, verify facts, and work with editors.

Hany Farid, a newly hired UC Berkeley computer science professor, showed us how easy it has become to manipulate audio and video so that, in his demonstration, Jordan Peele’s words were coming from Barack Obama’s mouth. He said the technology has a benign purpose, to help movie producers avoid using subtitles on foreign language films, but could be misused by public officials to deny that a video had accurately captured their words.

From left to right FIJ treasurer Mark Greenblatt and FIJ diversity fellow Maria Martin. To my left is Angelika Albaladejo.  Martin is an FIJ fellow working with Reveal this year; FIJ fellow Albaladejo is working with the Marshall Project for the year.

Learn Tips on How to Apply for Grants and Fellowships

Come join us Friday, June 14, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for a brown bag lunch hosted by the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), in honor of its 50th Anniversary, at the 2019 IRE conference in Houston. FIJ will team up with the Pulitzer Center to give out tips for winning reporting grants. FIJ Executive Director Sandy Bergo and Pulitzer Center Senior Strategist Steve Sapienza will explain the nitty-gritty of applying for grants and fellowships from both organizations, and will answer any and all questions. Grab carry-out from one of the vendors at the hotel, then join us for the one-hour session in Kingwood, located on Level 3. We will provide drinks and desserts.

FIJ is a proud sponsor of the 2019 IRE conference.

Pulitzer Prize for book on fracking in Appalachia

Congratulations to Eliza Griswold, who has won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction for her book Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America. She received an FIJ grant to help her reporting on the health, economic and political costs that follow in the footsteps of the American fracking boom.

The Pulitzer committee called the book “A classic American story, grippingly told, of an Appalachian family struggling to retain its middle class status in the shadow of destruction wreaked by corporate oil fracking.”

FIJ awards 17 grants to investigative journalists

The Board of Directors of the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $99,800 for 17 grants to investigative journalists in its most recent round of funding.

The grants will help investigative reporters cover the costs of reporting  work, such as travel, document fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses. read more…

Trafficking documentary a finalist for Goldsmith Prize

Congratulations to Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel! Their FRONTLINE project “Trafficked in America” was a finalist for this year’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

The story tells of Guatemalan teens forced to work on an Ohio egg farm, and exposes a criminal network that exploits undocumented minors, the companies that profit from forced labor, and the role of the U.S. Government.

The documentary originally aired in April, 2018, on PBS.

Ana Arana joins FIJ as Director of Operations

The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) announced today that Ana Arana has been named Director of Operations.  Arana is an award-winning veteran investigative journalist and media trainer with experience covering international organized crime.

She is the former director of Fundacion MEPI, a Mexico City investigative journalism project that carried out long-form U.S.-Mexico investigations from 2010-2015, pairing up with U.S. news outlets and Latin American news organizations.

A former U.S. foreign correspondent who reported from Central America and Colombia for CBS News and The Miami Herald, Arana has worked most recently as a freelance journalist and editor.  She has received several awards for outstanding journalism, including a team award from the Online News Association, a Third Coast Audio Festival Silver Award, a Peabody and two Overseas Press Club awards, among others.

“I am very excited that someone of Ana’s caliber is joining us,” said FIJ’s executive director, Sandy Bergo, in making the announcement. “Her proven track record mentoring young journalists is particularly valued. She will also bring new ideas and energy to the organization.”

The Fund for Investigative Journalism helps fund groundbreaking investigative stories that otherwise would not be told. Founded in 1969, FIJ makes grants to independent investigative journalists who have great tips, ideas, and sources, but need financial resources to do their work.

More funding, and a challenge grant

FIJ is pleased to announce that the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, a long-standing supporter, has awarded $75,000 to support its grant-making program for domestic investigations in 2019. This amount includes $25,000 to be awarded if FIJ raises an additional $25,000 in new funding before December 31.

Help us reach that matching goal – because, as always, all of it helps to fund even more watchdog journalism. 

FIJ names latest diversity fellows for collaborations with The Marshall Project, Reveal

The Fund for Investigative Journalism is proud to support the work of its two newest diversity fellows, María Martin and Angelika Albaladejo, as part of a yearlong collaboration between FIJ and two of the country’s leading nonprofit newsrooms.

Albaladejo will be working with The Marshall Project, while Martin will partner with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Each fellowship comes with a $15,000 grant, which Martin and Albaladejo can use for reporting expenses and other costs.

This is the third year that FIJ is offering diversity fellowships. Martin and Albaladejo join 11 other journalists who have taken part in the program, which is designed to boost diversity and inclusion within the ranks of investigative journalism – as well as increase opportunities for reporting on communities that don’t always get the attention they deserve. read more…

New donations help fund FIJ’s mission

The past two weeks have brought in three substantial funding grants for 2019.

The Weissman Family Foundation donated $75,000 to again support FIJ reporting grants in the coming year.

In addition, The Nara Fund donated $21,000. Of that, $6,000 is earmarked for continuing diversity outreach. Jonathan Ingbar, president of the Fund wrote, “All of us at The Nara Fund are inspired by the work that you do and we are honored to help support it, especially so at this time.”

That money had the added benefit of fulfilling a $25,000 matching challenge grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

And The Reva and David Logan Foundation – a long-time supporter – made a grant of $50,000 to fund even more reporting.

The FIJ board and reporting grant recipients are deeply grateful, and hope that the generosity will continue flowing through the holiday season.

FIJ Board changes

FIJ is happy to announce two new board members, Alan Berlow and Anu Narayanswamy.

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

Anu Narayanswamy is a data reporter for The Washington Post, working on the political enterprise team with a focus on money in politics and government accountability. She has previous investigative reporting experience both at the Center for Public Integrity and the Sunlight Foundation. Originally from Mumbai, India, she has a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia and is a member of the IRE/NICAR.

At the same time, Doris Truong will be leaving the board after a three-year term. FIJ wishes her the best of luck as she continues as the director of training and diversity at the Poynter Institute.

No easy options when leaving Salvadoran gangs

In two stories for The Intercept, FIJ/Schuster Institute diversity fellow Danielle Mackey reports on the difficulty and politics of leaving criminal gangs in El Salvador.

The first piece follows a 21-year-old who wants to retire after 10 years of murder and extortion with the gang Barrio 18. He hopes for a new life working with an evangelical Christian church. To his surprise, the gang lets him go, with conditions.

Besides entanglements with their old gangs, former gang members are ostracized by society and are targeted by police and other gangs. There are about 60,000 gang members in El Salvador. Mackey asks, “What is the solution to this problem if they can’t retire?” This story was highlighted in the New York Times and Longreads.

The second piece reports on a historic change in U.S. foreign policy toward El Salvador that allows aid money to be used to help people leave gangs. The unannounced policy shift happened after a years-long political battle fought in both Washington and the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador.

A view of prisoners inside Apanteos prison, west of San Salvador, El Salvador. Photo by Salvador Meléndez/Revista Factum

[FIJ thanks The Ford Foundation for providing the funding for this project.]