April 1st, 2017
|The Park Foundation is extending its support of independent watchdog journalism. The foundation announced this month that it is awarding FIJ another $50,000.This is the seventh year the Park Foundation has given toward FIJ’s mission.
“This is a vote of confidence in the Fund’s expanding role as an underwriter of vital, independent investigative reporting,” said Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, chair of FIJ’s Board of Directors. “The Park Foundation’s support fuels our ability to underwrite outstanding journalism.”
The Park Foundation’s grants support media work such as investigative reporting, public broadcasting and documentary filmmaking. The foundation’s other philanthropic causes include the environment and animal welfare.
Foundation’s Fundraising Challenge Continues
The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation awarded FIJ $50,000 for the coming year – and pledged $25,000 more if FIJ can come up with $25,000 in new donations from other donors by Jan. 31. FIJ encourages supporters – including individual donors – to help secure the matching funds.
|Kurdish militia behind Arab expulsions in Syria
Roy Gutman set out to investigate
While Gutman could not document any systematic “ethnic cleansing,” he found evidence that the militia, the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), had organized widespread expulsions of Arabs, a war crime under international humanitarian law, and systematically violated the human rights of Kurds and Arabs in northern Syria. The expulsions were largely political, undertaken at the behest of the Assad regime, with which the YPG is closely allied.
A six-month investigation for The Nation shows that the militia has evicted Arabs from their homes under threat of violence starting in 2013 and subsequently has blown up, torched, or bulldozed their homes and villages.
|In addition, Gutman found that the Syrian militia has used whatever means necessary to recruit fighters, even at gunpoint, as it kills political opponents and suppresses the news media.
Central to Gutman’s reporting is the struggle for Kurdish independence, which has had a long and violent history across Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran.
In cities like Detroit, demolishing old buildings might help rejuvenate blighted neighborhoods. But doing so has unintended consequences, according to a report by Eilís O’Neill for The Nation.
The problem with destroying tens of thousands of old homes is that many are covered in lead paint, and demolition crews risk unleashing clouds of lead dust into the environment — near schools, bus stops and neighborhoods with young families — and threatening the health of children.
February 27th, 2017
FIJ grant recipient Lucinda Fleeson has been in Nepal to help a team of journalists report on the aftermath of the massive 2015 earthquake that toppled centuries-old buildings. The temblor killed some 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The team has been analyzing data and tracking the progress of rebuilding.
NiemanReports recently featured the project on its website.
February 15th, 2017
For its Unequal Justice project, InvestigateWest collaborated with the Pamplin Media Group, Portland State University’s Mark G. Harmon and independent journalist Kate Willson in analyzing a decade’s worth of court records by race. The team sifted through 5.5 million court records and reported out the unique experiences of African Americans in the Portland urban area and that of Latinos in the state’s rural expanses. The reporting discovered that blacks and Latinos were charged more frequently for such violations as jaywalking, spitting in public, traffic infractions and drug-related offenses.
[Photo: March for Justice and Equality on Jan 28, 2017. Photo by Jaime Valdez.]
[Reporting sponsored by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]
January 23rd, 2017
Jan. 23, 2017
FUND FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AND SCHUSTER INSTITUTE FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM ANNOUNCE SOCIAL JUSTICE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING GRANT AND FELLOWSHIP AWARDS
The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University are pleased to announce the 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.
Five journalists will be awarded grants and fellowships for social justice investigative reporting projects, and two early-career journalists selected as “Rising Stars” will receive editorial mentorships in addition to grants and fellowships to support their projects.
Lisa Armstrong, Michele Chabin, Lottie Joiner, Jaeah Lee and Linda Matchan were selected as FIJ Schuster Institute Social Justice Investigative Reporting Fellows and will receive grants and fellowships to conduct their investigative reporting.
The two selected as Investigative Journalism Rising Stars are Sonia Paul and Stacy Thacker.
January 12th, 2017
(Washington) As of April 4, the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is accepting grant proposals for its Monday, May 22 deadline – using a new applications platform: investigate.submittable.com. FIJ makes grants to independent and freelance investigative reporters to produce stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing. The grants cover expenses such as travel, document fees, and equipment rental and may include small stipends. Read more about FIJ grants and application requirements at http://fij.org/apply-for-a-grant/.
December 23rd, 2016
A yearlong investigation by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism reveals the prevalence of nitrates, arsenic, lead and bacteria in private wells across the state. But the 288,000 Iowans who rely on private wells for drinking water may not truly know what’s in their water because their wells aren’t required to be tested, according to a three-day series, “Crisis in Our Wells,” reported by Lauren Shotwell. Because the water quality in those wells goes unregulated, the health risks are unknown.
[Photo by Lauren Mills Shotwell for IowaWatch: Hannah Lyons, an environmental lab analyst with the Iowa State Hygienic Lab, filtered samples on May 3, 2016, prior to an arsenic speciation test.]
[Reporting sponsored by the Gannett Foundation.]
December 19th, 2016
(Washington) The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $72,350 in reporting grants to 14 reporters or reporting teams working on stories that will expose significant ills in society, government malfeasance and cover-ups, and abuses of people whose voices are rarely heard. The grants cover the expenses of reporting such as travel and public records requests.
The grantees are:
Robin Amer, fellow, Social Justice News Nexus at Northwestern University
Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller, co-authors
Steve Burger, WNIN Tri-State Public Media, Evansville Indiana
Elizabeth Douglass, correspondent, InquireFirst
Heath Haussamen, a New Mexico based journalist
Christopher Jensen, reporter, InDepthNH.org
Spike Johnson, an investigative journalist who focuses on humanitarian topics
Jeremy Loudenback, The Chronicle of Social Change
Patrick Madden, WAMU Radio
Jarrett Murphy, City Limits News, a New York City investigative news center
Angie Newsome, Carolina Public Press
Miranda Spivack, an independent journalist working on a series for the Center for Investigative Reporting
Diana Washington Valdez, an El Paso-based journalist
Hella Winston, a New York based investigative reporter
FIJ invites grant proposals to support investigative projects three times a year. The next deadline for applications is Monday February 6, 2017.
December 10th, 2016
Editor’s note: Over the past year, the Fund for Investigative Journalism sent several foreign-based grant recipients to conferences to help them hone their investigative skills. Christian Locka of Cameroon and Mark Olalde, an American based in South Africa, recently attended the African Investigative Journalism Conference held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
For American in South Africa, FIJ provides opportunity to go beyond ‘parachute journalism’
By Mark Olalde
It is never fun sitting through a verbal attack on your work and your industry, even if it is deserved. Time and again at the inspiring, frustrating and eye-opening African Investigative Journalism Conference held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, African journalists grumbled about “parachute journalism” and Western reporters, including an American one like me.
At the conference’s closing “lighting talks,” I finally worked up the courage to volunteer to talk about my own work. I explained – through my Chicago accent – how the Fund for Investigative Journalism had allowed me to move past the parachute, now spending the better part of the past year and a half in Africa to thoroughly investigate South Africa’s abandoned mines.
December 2nd, 2016
Foundations, corporations and individual Americans gave $119 billion in 2015 to religious charities. Steve Rabey, reporting for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Religion News Service, found that some of these charities aren’t very forthcoming about how they spend their money. Reporting for the Gazette, Rabey delved into the financials of some of his community’s largest ministries. But not all complied with his request for records — in apparent violation of transparency standards of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. In his piece for RNS, Rabey took a broader look at financial transparency among the country’s largest religious ministries.
[In photo, Ed Anderson, Compassion International’s chief financial officer, discusses information systems with ministry workers in Thailand in October. Photo courtesy of Compassion International.]
[Reporting sponsored by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]
November 23rd, 2016
Idris Akinbajo, an investigative reporter from Nigeria, is hopeful that his country’s maturing democracy will mean more government transparency and perhaps lead to increased availability of government data.
Akinbajo, who has been twice named Nigeria’s “Journalist of the Year,” certainly has the journalistic chops to report aggressively on the issues facing his country. But he wants to be better prepared to analyze the data that might soon become available.
“The sheer volume and complexity of some of the data means basic investigative journalism skills might not be enough to analyze the information,” he said, noting that data journalism is mostly absent from Nigerian newsrooms. “How to sort the data, knowing where to look and how to understand the data were some of the essential techniques I wanted to develop.”
Through the generosity of the Reva & David Logan Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism provided opportunities for six foreign-based journalists, including Akinbajo, to attend conferences so they could further hone their reporting skills and network with other investigative journalists. Read the rest of this entry »