The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Sept. 25, 2017 - 11:59 pm (Eastern)
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    Crisis in Iowa’s wells: Contaminants widespread in private wells

    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.]

    FIJ Awards Investigative Reporting Grants

    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.

    At South Africa conference, FIJ training fellows share insights about their work

    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.

    Christian Locka presenting at the African Investigative Journalism Conference held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

    Christian Locka talks about his work as an investigative journalist in Cameroon. He 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.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Ministries not always forthcoming about how they use donations

    December 2nd, 2016

    rabeyFoundations, 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

    ‘GIVING TUESDAY’ is November 29. Please donate and support independent watchdog journalism.


    NOVEMBER 2016
    Training fellowships boost watchdog journalism

    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 »

    October 29th, 2016

    OCTOBER 2016
    Logan Foundation gives generously to FIJ

    The Reva & David Logan Foundation has been a valued patron of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and we are grateful for its continued generosity. The foundation recently awarded FIJ another $85,000 – the fourth year it has supported our mission of funding independent investigative journalists.

    “This gift is an honor and a challenge: It recognizes the impact of investigations we’ve underwritten, and pushes us to seek out projects with the potential to bring about important social change,” said FIJ’s board president, Ricardo Sandoval Palos.

    Our funders allow FIJ journalists to produce compelling work worthy of recognition. Here’s a recent sampling:

    —Adriana Cardona-Maguigad won two prestigious awards – the Sigma Delta Chi award for radio documentaries and an Edward R. Murrow Award – for her investigation into how drug addicts from Puerto Rico end up on Chicago’s streets.

    —The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting won an Edward R. Murrow Award and recognition from IRE for its report on an entrenched system of political employees that soaks up $2 million in taxpayer dollars each year.

    —Susan Southard received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for her debut nonfiction book, “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,” about the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan during World War II.

    —City Limits and its reporter Kate Pastor garnered award-winning praise from the New York Press Club for an ongoing series on housing.

    —Francesca Lyman received an “Arlene Award for Writing that Makes a Difference” from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for her expose on thrift stores for InvestigateWest.

    —Halle Stockton was a 2016 finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her PublicSource series on psychotropic drugs prescribed to juvenile offenders.

    Next application deadline: Monday, Feb. 6, 2017


    Read the rest of this entry »

    FIJ launches monthly newsletter to highlight grantees’ work

    September 30th, 2016

    092016_newsletterThe Fund for Investigative Journalism is kicking off a monthly newsletter to showcase the groundbreaking work produced by investigative journalists working with our grants.

    By providing money to cover travel and expenses, FIJ enables grantees to tackle ambitious investigative stories that might otherwise go uncovered. We are excited to share some of their work.

    Earlier this week, we closed the application period for our current round of grants. In the next few weeks, we will sift through those applications, seeking opportunities to support ambitious, high-impact projects across the country and the world.

    FIJ’s monthly newsletter will feature links to recently completed projects and update you about other endeavors, such as the Ford Foundation-funded diversity initiative we are launching with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.

    This summer, we made the rounds at summer journalism conferences, including gatherings of African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American journalists to spread the word about our grant and fellowship opportunities.

    We hope you will join us in raising awareness of FIJ’s work and its mission to support independent investigative reporting.

    Read September’s newsletter.

    Reminder: Oct. 1 Application Deadline

    September 21st, 2016

    (Washington) Applications for a diversity initiative funded by the Ford Foundation are currently being accepted, with an upcoming deadline of October 1st.  The initiative is an FIJ collaboration with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism to award FIJ grants, coupled with Schuster Institute fellowships, to women journalists and journalists of color.

    The online application form with instructions for the grant/fellowship diversity initiative can be found here: https://investigate.submittable.com/submit.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s deadline for its fall cycle has passed.  Applications are accepted by FIJ three times a year. The next deadline is Monday February 6, 2017, at 5pm Eastern time.

    The online application form with instructions can be found here: http://fij.org/grant-application/

     

    Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation Grant Supports Investigative Reporting

    August 31st, 2016

    (Washington) – The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is pleased to announce that for the fourth year in a row, the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation has donated $25,000 in support of FIJ’s grant-making program for independent investigative reporters.

    The funds will support the work of freelance reporters whose investigations are published in US media outlets.

    The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation’s journalism program supports press freedom around the world and seeks to improve the quality of journalism through grants to American journalism schools, investigative reporting projects, and online investigative news centers.

    FIJ board member David Ottaway also serves on the board of the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.

    Among the recently published FIJ projects underwritten by the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation:

    Reporter Adriana Cardona-Maguigad traveled to Puerto Rico to investigate why an influx of drug addicts from Puerto Rico now lived on the streets of Chicago. She found that addicts were given one way tickets to Chicago and other big cities with promises of drug treatment. But those promises were broken. Cardona-Maguigad was interviewed about her investigation for the public radio program This American Life.

    Vivekananda Nemana and Ankita Rao reported on the deliberate underreporting of malaria cases in India, which interferes with efforts to fight the disease.

    Francesca Lyman investigated Savers, the thrift store chain, and found their claims about helping charities were vastly overblown.

    Freelancer Jeanne Baron reported for NPR on World Bank projects that aim to fight poverty around the world, and found that while uprooting local people, project leaders don’t always follow World Bank rules for resettlements.

    Sandra Bartlett reported for the radio program, Reveal, on “disposable” workers in South Korea and Vietnam – exposed to toxic chemicals, then to reproductive disorders and cancer. Many of the victims are young women. Reveal is a nationally broadcast public radio program and podcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.

    For more than forty years, FIJ has covered expenses for reporters who have the ideas, sources, and know-how to produce groundbreaking investigative journalism but need resources to complete their projects.

    Grant applications are currently being accepted through the FIJ website, http://fij.org/grant-application/, with an upcoming deadline of September 26.

    FIJ is also collaborating with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism on a diversity initiative funded by the Ford Foundation. Applications for grants and fellowships for diverse journalists are being accepted at https://investigate.submittable.com/submit, through October 1.

     

    Grants, Fellowships Transform Careers

    August 12th, 2016

    AAJA panel(Las Vegas) Directors of journalism grant and fellowship programs described the “transformative” impact the programs have on reporters’ careers, during a panel discussion at the 2016 national convention of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), being held August 10-13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

    Among the panelists, Sandy Bergo of the Fund for Investigative Journalism described how its four decades-long grants program has helped reporters break big stories, such as the My Lai massacre.

    And she introduced a new diversity initiative that will award grants and fellowships with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism to women and journalists of color, to help address the lack of diversity in the field of investigative reporting.

    The FIJ/Schuster initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »