The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Deadline: Sept. 24, 2018 (11:59 pm Eastern)

  • Grantees’ Work

    Reporting on U.S. military in Africa wins National Press Club award

    August 9th, 2018

    Grant recipient Christina Goldbaum has won the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence from the National Press Club for her reporting on suspected US 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 US 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 US 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.]

    “Valuable, discomforting” book on fracking featured in NYT Book Review

    August 6th, 2018

    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.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Park Foundation.]

    Dissidents in Egypt push for reforms despite harsher treatment from government

    July 25th, 2018

    In a piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tom Stevenson looks into the lives of Egyptian dissidents under the US-backed dictatorship in Egypt. The report uncovers the extreme intimidation, surveillance, and repression the Egyptian government uses against dissidents, who nonetheless continue to challenge the state despite ever harsher conditions.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Campaign contributors more likely to get debt-collection contracts in Ohio

    July 9th, 2018

    James McNair examined 10 years of public data on behalf of the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism. He found a strong correlation between the amount of campaign contributions and the revenue received by law firms doing collection work for the state attorney general’s office. What’s more, the data showed that debt collection firms who hired lobbyists got more money. 

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Park Foundation.]

    Book examines fracking boom’s role in the fracturing of America

    July 9th, 2018

    Eliza Griswold examines the fracking boom in her book “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America.” In an essay for the New York Times, Griswold addresses a concept called “the resource curse” in her book. In her essay, she asserts that the subjects of her book, who live in a resource-rich part of the rural United States, suffer from many of the same structural pressures and disadvantages as people living in countries that most Americans think of as less developed.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Park Foundation.]

    Rehab marketers use online social communities to trawl for vulnerable people

    May 30th, 2018

    Cat Ferguson continues her investigation into the drug rehab industry with a look into how marketers use online social media sites like Facebook to find vulnerable — and potentially valuable — targets. In her latest piece for the Verge, Ferguson reports on how some marketers join or start support groups on the platform and trawl them for clients, often without disclosing their financial interest in the treatment center.

    Verge illustrations by Laurent Hrybyk.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Minerals from militia-controlled mines in Congo flow into marketplace despite U.S. law meant to prevent armed groups from financial gain in the trade of minerals

    April 25th, 2018

    Buried in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a provision requiring publicly listed American companies to disclose if their tin, tungsten, coltan or gold come from Congo or its neighboring countries. It was inserted into the 2010 landmark legislation to stem the trade in resources that fuels armed groups in parts of Africa. While American companies are required to conduct due diligence to minimize risks that minerals could be fueling militias, that effort is at best a work in progress, according to reporting by Laura Kasinof for The WorldPost.

    Since Dodd-Frank, militias in eastern Congo have proliferated and minerals coming from militia-controlled mines are still making their way into the global market.

    In photo by Laura Kasinof,  a miner emerges from the 500-foot deep Kachuba tin mine in February.
    [Funding for this project was provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Gaps in federal law pose challenges in addressing sexual harassment, discrimination, assault in Native America

    April 10th, 2018

    Rebecca Clarren dug through databases and tribal court files for her report, co-written with Jason Begay, on sexual discrimination, harassment and assault in tribal workplaces.  Their piece for InvestigateWest, “Confronting the ‘Native Harvey Weinsteins,'” which was also run by The Nation, showed the challenges in investigating such violations. Part of the problem, Clarren and Begay report, stems from the the federal government’s decision to exempt tribes from the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Fewer than twenty tribes have created their own legal codes to fill this void.

    Navajo Nation Council member Amber Crotty, in photo, stunned her colleagues in a 2016 speech that spotlighted sexual harassment on her reservation. (Photo courtesy of Amber Crotty.)

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.]

    Book details double life of civil rights photographer, FBI informant

    April 10th, 2018

    Marc Perrusquia’s new book, A Spy In Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, tells how a long-running newspaper investigation uncovered civil rights photographer Ernest Withers’ double life as a paid FBI informant. Released March 27 by Melville House in New York, the book reveals that Withers helped the FBI monitor a broad range of individuals and organizations active in the civil rights, peace and labor movements in Memphis between 1958 and 1976, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Communist Party, the Black Panthers, the Congress of Racial Equality and the Southern Student Organizing Committee. The Washington Post recently reviewed the book. The Washington Post recently reviewed the book.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Park Foundation.]

    UC Berkeley investigative program teams with FRONTLINE on labor trafficking

    April 6th, 2018

    Daffodil Altan, Andrés Cediel, and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, have teamed with FRONTLINE to tell the story of Guatemalan teens forced to work against their will on an egg farm in Ohio. The investigation into labor trafficking exposes a criminal network that exploits undocumented minors, companies that profit from forced labor and the role of the  U.S. government. The documentary, “Trafficked in America,” aired on April 24, 2018, on PBS stations.

     

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]