News from FIJ
The Fund for Investigative Journalism seeks Director of Operations
The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is seeking a Director of Operations to help the organization fulfill its mission of supporting freelance and independent investigative journalists.
The Director of Operations oversees all office operations and procedures to ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency and reports directly to the Executive Director.
Founded in 1969, FIJ makes grants to journalists who have great tips, ideas, and sources, but need financial resources to accomplish groundbreaking investigations and tell stories that otherwise would not be told. FIJ reviews proposals from investigative journalists three to four times a year, making about 45 to 50 grants annually.
FIJ is governed by a board of accomplished investigative journalists who uphold the highest standards of unbiased, nonpartisan investigative journalism. In its field, FIJ is unique as a longstanding organization of journalists that helps fellow journalists, by raising funds to sustain independent watchdog reporting.
Promote FIJ and its grantees
- Promote grantees’ work on FIJ website, through social media, and in newsletters.
- Write and design brochures that promote FIJ to potential grantees and fellows.
- Write and design brochures that promote FIJ to potential supporters.
- Track grantees’ work and outcomes, communicate results to donors and the public.
- Conduct outreach at journalism conferences and through social media.
Manage grant application and selection process
- Communicate with applicants and grantees from their first inquiry through project completion.
- Facilitate board review of grant applications.
- Operate programs that provide mentors and pro-bono legal guidance to grantees.
Donor appreciation, fundraising support
- Manage donor appreciation correspondence.
- Update website frequently to recognize donors.
- Help develop impact reports and other information to report back to foundations and other donors.
- Update website content; suggest improvements.
- Troubleshoot and maintain website, or supervise vendor.
- Assist executive director with board meeting communications and logistics.
- Assist executive director with administrative functions.
- Maintain electronic and paper filing systems; guide ongoing transition from paper to electronic.
- Maintain office calendar of deadlines for fundraising, partnerships and donor reporting, and grant application and review process.
- Help write foundation progress reports.
- Supervise temporary office personnel to keep donor and grantee lists current.
- Evaluate donor and grantee management systems; recommend improvements.
- Help organize 50th Anniversary Event.
Other duties as required.
Professional skills required: Strong organizational, writing, and technology skills. Strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate organization’s mission and fundraising goals to potential supporters, in person and in writing. The ideal candidate would initiate ideas to improve FIJ’s programs and outreach to independent and diverse journalists. Proficiency in Word and Excel. Familiarity with or willingness to learn basic Quickbooks functions.
Specific technology requirements: Must have advanced knowledge of WordPress to update Website and troubleshoot occasional issues, ability to generate email newsletters, and use Photoshop or equivalent to edit images. Familiarity with Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets and willingness to learn how to work with Google’s suite of cloud-based applications. Salesforce knowledge would be a plus.
General technology requirements: Successful applicant would be the chief technology expert for FIJ, able to juggle technological issues with projects and administrative duties that advance FIJ’s mission. Must be familiar with file-sharing systems.
The ideal candidate is experienced in handling a broad range of tasks, is flexible, able to work independently, and desires a part-time position. The candidate may work remotely on occasion.
The position is located in Washington DC.
Experience: 5 years experience in communications, nonprofit management, and/or fundraising, preferred.
Terms: Part-time position (20 hours/week); compensation includes contribution to health insurance plan.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism is an equal opportunity employer.
Deadline to apply: Friday, October 5, 2018
Send cover letter, resume and two short writing samples to Sandy Bergo, executive director, at FUNDFIJresumes@gmail.com, with subject heading: Director of Operations position.
Reporters Committee and Fund for Investigative Journalism announce partnership to support independent journalists
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is partnering with the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) to offer legal support to FIJ grantees completing investigative reporting projects across the country.
For nearly half a century, FIJ has financially supported the work of independent journalists who lack the resources needed to pursue investigations into issues such as racism, poverty, corporate greed and government corruption. FIJ-supported projects have won an array of journalistic honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, Peabody Award, George Polk Award and Sigma Delta Chi Award, among others.
Reporters Committee attorneys have already begun working with six grantees as part of a pilot program with FIJ to review drafts of stories for libel and other legal concerns before they are published, and to provide other pro bono legal assistance related to newsgathering and First Amendment issues.
“Independent investigative journalists are increasingly in need of legal support but are among those who have the least amount of ready access to it,” said Marcia Bullard, FIJ’s Board President. “Our partnership with the Reporters Committee will offer FIJ grantees essential legal expertise to support their reporting.”
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with FIJ to help investigative journalists shed light on some of the most pressing issues affecting communities across the country,” said Katie Townsend, Legal Director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Our attorneys are looking forward to providing FIJ grantees with much-needed legal support for their important work.”
This announcement is also available on the RCFP website here. Legal support is available upon request, as part of the FIJ grant application process. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grant recipient Robin Urevich has published a series of stories in Capital & Main outlining two deaths connected to inadequate medical care at immigration detention centers run by Emerald Correctional Management. Urevich’s investigation found that the firm received millions from no-bid government contracts while providing sub-par service—this despite a history of poor performance on the part of the company. As of 2016, the company had abandoned or been fired from more detention contracts than it maintained.
The Louisiana-based firm went out of business in 2017, but the abuses uncovered reflect a lack of oversight by ICE in vetting potential prison contractors. Immigration detention has expanded fivefold in the past 23 years, Urevich reports, and with the Trump administration’s deportation surge, is growing larger.
Illustration by Define Urban for Capital & Main
[This project was funded by The Park Foundation.]
In 1838, the Society of Jesus in Maryland, an international Jesuit community, sold 272 slaves to plantations in Louisiana. That sale saved Georgetown University, a Jesuit school, from financial ruin. With funding from FIJ, reporters from The Hoya—the student paper at Georgetown—examined the university’s legacy of slavery and its relationship to descendants of the enslaved. Their investigation found that the university had unearthed human remains in 2014 while constructing the newest dormitory building on campus. Those remains were near what was once a segregated graveyard—the final resting place of several Georgetown slaves. The discovery was not publicized and the space remains unmarked.
Additionally, the student team traveled to Maringouin, Louisiana, where the majority of the population are descendants of the 272 slaves sold to save the university in 1838. Maringouin has not had a high school since 2009, and students must make a 58-mile daily commute to attend school. Locals told the student journalists that they believe the decision to shut the school was motivated in part by race, and they are calling for Georgetown and the Society of Jesus to support primary and secondary education in the town.
Poynter has written the story behind the story of The Hoya report.
And, finally, the Georgetown students produced an online edition that recaps their investigation.
Above, a view of sugarcane fields around Maringouin, Louisiana. Photo by Derrick Arthur
[Funding for this project was provided by The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.]
Grant recipient Christina Goldbaum has won the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence from the National Press Club for her reporting on suspected U.S. military involvement in the killing of 10 civilians during a mission in Somalia in 2017. This follows her earlier win of a Livingston Award for Excellence in International Reporting for the same series of stories in the Daily Beast.
Goldbaum’s reporting found evidence that U.S. Special Forces undertook the mission based on dubious intelligence from poorly vetted sources. Her reporting also raised questions about the oversight and strategy of U.S. forces in Africa. While the number of U.S. military missions in Africa has increased by 1,900 percent between 2008 and 2015, a person working with the U.S. mission in Somalia says, “There is no U.S. strategy here.”
The stories were mentioned by Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) in his call for a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on counterterrorism efforts in Africa.
In photo, a Somali National Army soldier patrols alongside African Union Peacekeeping Forces. Photo by Christina Goldbaum
[Funding for this project was provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]
Grant recipient Eliza Griswold’s book “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America” was one of four books noted in a cover feature called “This Land is Our Land” in the August 5, New York Times Book Review. The laudatory review noted Griswold’s “impressive research” and called the book “a David and Goliath story fit for the movies.”
In “Amity and Prosperity” Griswold examines the health, economic and political costs that follow in the footsteps of the American fracking boom.
Seymour Hersh has published a memoir in which he recounts his long career as an investigative journalist. His book, “Reporter,” shares what his publisher calls “the stories behind the stories.”
Hersh has been making the rounds to promote the memoir, including a recent visit to the Washington, D.C., bookstore Politics & Prose.
Hersh won a Pulitzer in international reporting for his FIJ-funded expose on the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War. In his book, Hersh describes FIJ as “an important foundation that continues today to finance innovative newspaper and magazine stories.”
The Washington Post called his book a welcome addition to those focused on “the making of journalism.”
(Photo by Chuck Neubauer.)
InsideClimate News, The Marshall Project, Reveal/CIR,
Ida B. Wells Society join FIJ diversity initiative
The Fund for Investigative Journalism is proud to announce partnerships with four of the country’s most innovative journalism nonprofits for a yearlong fellowship program that aims to expand opportunities for diverse journalists in watchdog reporting, with an emphasis on journalists of color.
InsideClimate News, The Marshall Project and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting are joining FIJ in this important collaboration to train more investigative journalists and help draw focus to stories that might otherwise go untold.
The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting will play a supporting role by providing fellows with additonal training and support.
“It is critically important to support and train a new generation of investigative journalists,” said FIJ Board President Marcia Bullard. “We’re excited to offer diverse journalists the opportunity to work with these stellar journalism organizations.”
FIJ and its partners will select up to four fellows who will work with one of FIJ’s partner outlets to produce deeply reported investigations on climate change and the environment, social justice and the U.S. criminal justice system, and government accountability and the abuse of power.
Fellows will have access to reporting expertise and other resources offered by partner outlets. Each will get guidance from some of the industry’s best editors and investigative journalists.
The deadline to apply is Oct. 1, 2018, and fellows will be announced by the end of the year.
This will be the third year that FIJ is offering diversity fellowships. So far, 11 journalists have taken part in the program.
For nearly half a century, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has supported the work of independent journalists who have lacked the resources needed to pursue their investigations. The late Philip M. Stern founded FIJ in 1969 to invest in the work of determined journalists in the fight against racism, poverty, corporate greed and governmental corruption. FIJ-supported projects have won a wide array of journalistic honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Peabody Award, the George Polk Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award and many more.
“I’ve watched FIJ grow this program over the years and patterned parts of our own fellowship program on theirs,” said Amy Pyle, editor in chief of Reveal/CIR. “I look forward to supporting FIJ in promoting the work and advancement of journalists with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.”
Reveal, a product of the country’s oldest nonprofit investigative newsroom, engages and empowers the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling that sparks action, improves lives and protects our democracy. Reveal publishes its work on its website, public radio program and podcast (produced with PRX), social media platforms and in partnership with media partners nationwide and around the world.
Reveal looks for stories that are unique and deeply investigative that clearly pinpoint who is responsible, with the potential for driving change.
FIJ’s partners are recognized across the industry for the rigor of their journalism, their expertise in their respective reporting areas and for the innovative ways in which they engage with their audiences.
“We’re thrilled that the Fund for Investigative Journalism is making this opportunity available to The Marshall Project,” said Carroll Bogert, president of The Marshall Project. “We look forward to working with our FIJ fellow to produce a stellar piece of investigative journalism that will have real impact on the criminal justice system.”
The Marshall Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom covering criminal justice issues in the United States. Launched four years ago, it has published more than 1,200 stories with over 100 media partners and has won many top journalism awards, including the Pulitzer. The Marshall Project prioritizes stories that require deep digging and have not been covered by other news outlets – including stories about immigration as a parallel criminal justice system.
FIJ is also proud to partner with InsideClimate News, another Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit and nonpartisan news organization. ICN provides essential reporting and analysis on climate change, energy and the environment. It serves as a watchdog on government, industry and advocacy groups.
“We’re delighted to work with the Fund for Investigative Journalism on this important project and to bring an FIJ fellow into our newsroom and community,” said Stacy Feldman, ICN’s executive editor. “We’re covering complex, dramatic and urgent stories of climate change and environmental injustice, and it’s crucial to have reporters from a broad range of perspectives and background to help us tell them.”
Started 11 years ago as a two-person blog, ICN has grown into one of the largest environmental newsrooms in the country. ICN is committed to establishing a national reporting network, training the next generation of journalists and strengthening the practice of environmental journalism.
The Ida B. Wells Society is dedicated to increasing and retaining reporters and editors of color in the field of investigative reporting. The organization, which is spearheaded by veteran journalists, also seeks to educate news organizations and journalists on how the inclusion of diverse voices can raise the caliber, impact and visibility of investigative journalism as a means of promoting transparency and good government. The Society is open to journalists of all races and backgrounds who support the mission of the organization.
For more information, contact FIJ Executive Director Sandy Bergo, email@example.com.
Goldbaum won praise for her FIJ-funded reporting, published by The Daily Beast, about the massacre of civilians in Somalia by U.S. Special Operations Forces.
Ferguson’s nomination was for a package of stories published by the Verge and partly funded by FIJ that explored the ethical questions that have arisen over drug rehab companies and their links to online marketers and websites that dispense information about addiction.
Livingston winners will be announced June 6.
Earlier this month, Laird Townsend won a Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club, the nation’s largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Townsend got recognition for his two-year investigation for the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting into the use of contractors by seed-corn companies like Monsanto in recruiting thousands of migrant farm workers. The use of contractors has led to repeated allegations of labor violations.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism congratulates the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reportingand Indiana’s WNIN Tri-State Public Media on well-deserved honors for their important work.
The package exposed what the center described as a series of deceptions over decades by state Rep. Dan Johnson, a self-anointed “pope, bishop and minister to outcasts.”
WNIN of Evansville, Indiana, won a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a yearlong investigation into a psychologist whose evaluations are under scrutiny because of concerns that some might have been falsified.
WNIN’s project, “A Scar on the System: The Case of Albert Fink,” found more than 10,000 Social Security disability claims in which the psychologist provided exams or testing.
“These award-winning investigations show just how important it is to our country to support local journalism,” FIJ Board President Marcia Bullard said. “FIJ is proud of the work these reporters have done. They have exposed wrongs that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. We look forward to funding even more investigations of such high caliber.”
FIJ will announce its next round of grants in June. The deadline to apply was May 7.
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has received a Peabody Award, broadcasting’s highest honor, for “The Pope’s Long Con,” the center’s five-part series on “a Kentucky preacher-turned-politician’s web of lies.”
The package was reported by R.G. Dunlop and Jacob Ryan, and produced by Laura Ellis, exposed what the center said was a series of deceptions over decades by state Rep. Dan Johnson, a self-anointed “pope, bishop and minister to outcasts.”
A grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism supported the work.
“This award gives national recognition to the power and necessity of local reporting at a time when journalism everywhere is under threat. As a nonprofit newsroom, we’re fortunate to have a community in Louisville that provides a strong backbone for this work, ” Stephen George, interim president of Louisville Public Media, said on its website.
The Society of Professional Journalists is honoring Indiana public radio station WNIN with a Sigma Delta Chi Award for the station’s year-long investigation into an Indiana psychologist whose mental evaluations are now under scrutiny. The psychologist had admitted to authorities that he had falsified a mental evaluation in one criminal case, prompting authorities to launch an inquiry that encompassed nearly 80 other criminal cases in which the psychologist had provided evaluations. WNIN’s own inquiry, “A Scar on the System: The Case of Albert Fink,” uncovered more than ten thousand Social Security disability claims for which the psychologist provided exams or testing.
FIJ provided financial support for the project.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded $58,535 in reporting grants for eight projects that will help shine light on potential abuses of power, expose significant shortcomings in social institutions and give voice to people who seldom have the platform to share their stories.
Among the grant recipients:
Katti Gray, a veteran journalist who mainly covers health and criminal justice issues;
Christina Goldbaum, an independent investigative journalist based in East Africa;
InvestigateWest, a Seattle-based journalism nonprofit;
James McNair, a Cincinnati-based investigative reporter;
Aly Pachter and the staff of the Georgetown University newspaper, The Hoya;
Jenni Monet, an independent journalist who reports extensively on the rights of the country’s indigenous people;
Alisa Partlan and Hella Winston, two New York-based investigative journalists; and
Robin Urevich, a Los Angeles-based reporter.
Four Investigative Reporters Selected for 2018 Social Justice Investigative Reporting Fellowship and Grants
The fellowship is a collaboration of the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, with support from the Ford Foundation
Feb. 26, 2018–The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University are pleased to announce the 2018 winners of our nationally competitive journalism initiative funded by the Ford Foundation, with the express goal of increasing diverse and inclusive voices and topics in investigative journalism.
Four journalists have been awarded grants and fellowships for social justice investigative reporting projects: Danielle Mackey, Johnny Magdaleno, Luis Trelles and Chandra Thomas Whitfield. The fellows will investigate critical contemporary issues such as racial disparities in domestic violence cases, treatment for opioid addiction, Central American gangs, and the government’s handling of natural disasters.
Judges for the selection process said the need for such reporting is great and that the quality of the proposals received reflects the outstanding pool of talented independent reporters seeking funding and support for groundbreaking stories that can have far-reaching impacts.
“Journalism must take hard looks at all levels of society. We are proud to help these talented investigative reporters who are tackling such important topics,” said Marcia Bullard, president of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. “We’re especially grateful for the support of the Ford Foundation and the Schuster Institute and their commitment to social justice issues.”
“The wider perspective that diverse voices and experiences provide strengthens the effort investigative journalists make to keep government, corporations and others in power accountable. The truth is, the need for diversity among journalists investigating and telling important, under-covered stories has never been greater,” said Florence Graves, Schuster Institute founding director and editor-in-chief. “We are honored to be part of this initiative with our partners, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Ford Foundation, and are eager to work with the new fellows.” read more…
Jaeah Lee, a member of FIJ’s inaugural class of diversity fellows, received the first American Mosaic Journalism Prize for her previous reporting and writing on gun violence.
The award includes a $100,000 cash prize and recognizes Lee for work published by California Sunday Magazine, Vice and Mother Jones.
Lee is currently completing her FIJ/Schuster Institute diversity fellowship project.
Reminder: The next deadline to apply for a grant is Monday, Feb. 5. FIJ will award up to $10,000 for each grant, which can be used by freelance and independent investigative journalists for travel, acquiring documents and other reporting expenses. A select number of grant recipients will also be assigned mentors.
Deadlines for two additional 2018 application rounds have also be set for May 7 in the spring and September 24 in the fall. read more…
As the new year gets into full gear, It’s a good time to look back at the work FIJ grantees have produced. Last year, grant recipients have published about three dozen projects.
In December, we feature a trove of stories – including a deep dive into the background of a Kentucky legislator, further risks of corruption in Colombia and stories about the criminal justice system from two of our FIJ/Schuster Institute diversity fellows.
FIJ’s ability to sponsor this kind of reporting depends on the financial support we receive from donors.
FIJ is fortunate to get additional backing from longtime supporters like the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, which recently awarded FIJ $35,000 for each of the next two years.
In addition, The Nara Fund has given FIJ another $15,000. In its award letter, the fund said it was inspired by FIJ’s work, and it was “honored to help support it, especially so at this time.”
Hard-hitting, fact-based journalism is needed more than ever, and FIJ is determined to help freelance and independent journalists continue to deliver quality watchdog journalism in the New Year.
The New Year also brings new leadership to FIJ’s governing board. Marcia Bullard, a past president and chief executive officer of the national magazine USA WEEKEND, will take the helm of the board when current president Ricardo Sandoval-Palos steps down.
“This is a critical time for America to support independent and investigative journalism,” Bullard said. “It’s energizing that so many people are donating to FIJ so we can continue this work. I expect 2018 will bring many important stories to light.” read more…
FIJ/Schuster diversity fellow Lottie Joiner completes her series on recidivism for USA Today by looking at the experiences of men incarcerated in Louisiana, which has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. In her latest multimedia installments for her “Policing the USA” project, Joiner features former felons getting help from a program called “First 72+,” which is trying to help men break free from the cycle of crime and imprisonment. Joiner reports that the United States spent more than $56 billion in 2015 to lock people up. Studies show that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. African American men, in particular, are jailed at higher rates than other groups. As part of her project, Joiner also interviews best-selling author Shaka Senghor, who went to prison when he was 19 after being convicted of second-degree murder.
In photo by Jarrad Henderson for USA Today:
[Funding for this project was provided by the Ford Foundation.]
Now more than ever, freelance and independent journalists are in a precarious position. They lack the protections and resources of major news outlets, and they don’t always have the funding to pursue their crucial investigations that improve our communities and strengthen our democracy.
For a half century, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has supported freelance and independent journalists by providing grants of up to $10,000 to cover reporting expenses.
FIJ-sponsored writers have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Magazine Awards, the MacArthur “Genius” award and a slew of other industry praises.
We financially support about four dozen reporting projects every year. The money covers airfare for reporting trips, secures troves of costly data or covers fees for copying public records.
We receive scores of funding requests from investigative reporters, but can only fund a select few. As a result, many important and deserving stories may go untold.
With your support, FIJ-funded journalists can continue to uncover wrongdoing, shine light on information shrouded in secrecy, and speak on behalf of ordinary citizens and the powerless.