The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday, February 2, 2015 - 5pm EST
  • Grantees’ Work

    Monitoring Native Voting Rights in Alaska, South Dakota

    January 29th, 2015

    22 WomanVoting1

    For the Indian Country Today Media Network, Stephanie Woodard monitored enforcement of voting rights reforms for historically disenfranchised Alaska Natives. Alaska Natives had won a language assistance lawsuit and had organized early voting – better suited for subsistence hunters and fishermen who cannot plan trips to distant voting locations on Election Day. The result: turnout soared.

    But at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, she discovered evidence of voter suppression. The Justice Department intervened, and Native voter turnout surged.

    Read the five-part series from Alaska: (A Seat at the Table), (Celebrates), (Election Morning), (The Alaska Native Way), and (One Voter at a Time), her photo-essay on Huffington Post, and the two-part series from South Dakota, (The Sheriff), and (A Bumpy Road).

     [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Stephanie Woodard

    Hispanic Engineers Face Competition

    January 29th, 2015

    From Peggy Orchowski for The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine, the story of Hispanic students who want to pursue graduate degrees in engineering but are frustrated by the preference given to international students – in the form of research and teaching positions that underwrite the costs of their education. “Latino students have to learn how to find their own resources,” one college official told Orchowski.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Gannett Foundation.]


    Oil-by-Rail: An Explosive Problem

    December 27th, 2014

    compressed for webpagesFrom Marcus Stern and Sebastian Jones, the story of tankers filled with volatile crude oil extracted through fracking operations in North Dakota, traveling by rail through Canada and the U. S. Five shipments of crude have exploded during the past two years. The railroad cars are old and defective, wooden rail structures are crumbling, and 47 residents of a Canadian town are dead. Stern and Jones report that U. S. regulators are working on the problem, but without a deadline or sense of urgency. The investigation was conducted in collaboration with InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel, and the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund.

    View the Weather Channel videoRead more.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Jason Rudge / The Weather Channel



    Evicted, Still Homeless: A Report from Armenia

    December 19th, 2014

    RozaRoza Hovhannisyan reports from Armenia for on the frustrations of people evicted from the old town center of Yerevan, waiting more than ten years for decent housing.

    An excerpt:

    The European Court of Human Rights will resume the examination of applications of three families evicted from 25 Buzand Street at the center of Yerevan. These families were deprived of their property in the result of demolition of old center of Yerevan. The houses of this territory were demolished in 2004, and most affected families are still homeless. In 2011 the ECtHR passed a decision on the cases Baghdasaryan-Zarikyantses v Armenia, Gharibyan v Armenia and the Ghasabyans v Armenia but the government of Armenia has not implemented the decision yet.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Roza Hovhannisyan

    “Smart ALEC” – Influence Peddling in Oregon

    December 9th, 2014

    ALEC imageFrom the investigative team at KBOO Community Radio, Portland, an investigation of the influence that the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] has on laws passed in the state of Oregon. KBOO reporters found that ALEC model bills are introduced, virtually word-for-word, to benefit the corporate-profit mission of ALEC, at the expense of consumer and environmental protection. The reporting team cited many examples, and highlighted two bills: one that requires homeowners who install solar panels to in effect subsidize electric utilities, and another that protects the Monsanto seed company from competition. The reporters also uncovered one legislator who was using ALEC lobbyists as his research team.

    In addition to a series of radio reports, KBOO developed a website that displays the results of its investigation.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation and The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Illustration by Sam Smith.

    How the Clinton State Department Sold Fracking Overseas

    December 8th, 2014

    ukraine_ClintonFrom Mariah Blake, for Mother Jones, the story of “energy diplomacy” that promotes drilling in foreign countries.

    An excerpt:

    “Clinton then sent a cable to US diplomats, asking them to collect information on the potential for fracking in their host countries. These efforts eventually gave rise to the Global Shale Gas Initiative, which aimed to help other nations develop their shale potential. Clinton promised it would do so ‘in a way that is as environmentally respectful as possible.’ But environmental groups were barely consulted, while industry played a crucial role.”

    [Reporting sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Illustration by John Ritter.

    Big Dairy Treats Workers Even Worse Than Its Cows

    December 5th, 2014

    SorrentinoFrom Joseph Sorrentino, for In These Times and The Santa Fe Reporter, an investigation of working conditions at diaries in New Mexico. Workers routinely work overtime without extra pay, and are subjected to dirty, dangerous conditions. But since most New Mexico dairy workers are undocumented immigrants, they are afraid to complain. Sorrentino tells the story of a worker who, despite suffering a fractured bone after a cow stepped on his foot, was unable to take sick leave, and another worker who was kicked by a cow, which broke his leg, then fired after he took three months to recover. Dairy farms in New Mexico are “strongly encouraged” but not required to get workers’ compensation insurance. Dairy workers tell Sorrentino that the owners treat the cows better than they treat their employees.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Joseph Sorrentino





    The Demise of Nursing Homes for Minorities, Poor

    December 5th, 2014

    LH entranceFrom Wallace Roberts, for The Crisis Magazine, an investigation of the demise of nursing homes serving poor and minority neighborhoods, due to historic underfunding rooted in Jim Crow decision-making. Roberts probes the case of the Lemington Home for the Aged, a microcosm for a national problem. The Pittsburgh home, a long-standing community-based institution, closed after a death investigation found chronic understaffing and a high rate of health related violations. The home’s finances were further impaired because it could not afford to hire a skilled accounting clerk to file complex federal reimbursement claims, which if paid, had the potential to keep the home on a healthier financial footing.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Wallace Roberts

    Uganda Oil Sector Falls Short

    December 4th, 2014

    Joseph MazigeFrom Joseph Mazige, for Munno Voice of Uganda, an investigation of newly developed oil fields, which have failed to meet expectations for reducing joblessness and poverty. Instead, the oil companies provide good jobs for skilled foreign citizens but offer local residents positions as guards and laborers. Local business owners also complain they are denied service contracts; the foreign oil firms do not believe they meet their standards. A scholarship fund has been established by one firm to begin to address the skills gap. Local residents also report that violent evictions and land-grabs have cleared the way for the international oil companies.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Joseph Mazige

    False Sense of Security on Campus

    December 4th, 2014

    clery-nutshell-art-g3rufjd1-1campus-crime2eja-jpgA joint investigation by the Student Press Law Center and The Columbus Dispatch casts serious doubts on the accuracy of crime reports sent by colleges to the U.S. Department of Education. An overwhelming number of colleges report no sexual assaults, or no violent crimes at all, each year. The investigative team documented crimes – including the report of a gang rape committed in a dorm room – that were reported to college authorities, but not to the feds as required by law. Students and parents rely on accurate statistics to judge whether colleges being considered by high school seniors are safe to attend.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Eric Albrecht/The Columbus Dispatch