The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Sept. 25, 2017 - 11:59 pm (Eastern)
  • Newsroom

    Scientists race to understand role of ‘black carbon’ in melting Arctic

    June 5th, 2017

    As warming temperatures thaw the Arctic, pressure is mounting to develop new sources of oil and gas and expand shipping routes throughout the region. As Madeline Ostrander reports for “ensia,” the Arctic is especially vulnerable to a type of air pollution called black carbon, and scientists are scrambling to understand and mitigate its impacts before it’s too late.

    (Photo by Madeline Ostrander: Scientists study the impacts of air pollution on the Arctic in this remote lab outside of Utqiaġvik, Alaska.)

    [Reporting for this project was sponsored by the Park Foundation.]

    2017 FIJ diversity fellows get to work; head to IRE, Logan conferences

    May 14th, 2017

    Seven journalsts selected as diversity fellows by the Schuster Institute and the Fund for Investigative Journalism have begun working on their projects.As they continue their reporting, the fellows will take part in training and networking conferences — thanks to the generosity of Jon Logan and the Reva and David Logan Foundation.Three of the fellows are spending the final days of April at the University of California, Berkeley, for the invitation-only Logan Symposium. The remaining four head to Phoenix in June for the IRE conference.Funding from the Logan Foundation allows FIJ to pay the full cost of registration, airfare and accomodations for the fellows.

    Lisa Armstrong, Michele Chabin, Lottie Joiner, Jaeah Lee and Linda Matchan were announced earlier this year as FIJ Schuster Institute Social Justice Investigative Reporting Fellows. Sonia Paul and Stacy Thacker were selected as investigative “rising stars.”

    The fellowships, underwritten by the Ford Foundation, hopes to increase the ranks of women and journalists of color in a field where they have been underrepresented.

    In other news: FIJ recently announced $120,000 in grants for investigative journalism. Visit FIJ.org for a list of the latest grant recipients. Read the rest of this entry »

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism Is Hiring

    May 2nd, 2017

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism seeks Director of Operations

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) helps fund groundbreaking investigative stories that otherwise would not be told. Founded in 1969, FIJ makes grants to independent investigative journalists who have great tips, ideas, and sources, but need financial resources to do their work.

    FIJ is governed by a board of experienced investigative journalists. It is an organization of journalists helping journalists by raising the funds that make independent watchdog reporting possible.

    To help meet the growing needs of investigative journalists who work independently, without the resources or protection of media organizations and newsrooms, FIJ is hiring a Director of Operations.

    The Director of Operations oversees all office operations and procedures to ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency and reports directly to the Executive Director. Read the rest of this entry »

    March 2017 Newsletter

    April 1st, 2017

    NEXT APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, May 22, 2017


    MARCH 2017
    The Park Foundation gives generously in support of investigative journalism

    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.


    HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
    Kurdish militia behind Arab expulsions in Syria

    Ibrahim Abo Omar, 61, a Syrian Arab, describes the eviction of his family from their home in Tel Abyad, Syria, last spring by the Kurdish YPG militia. “They just locked the door. Put the keys in their pocket.” (Photo for The Nation by Roy Gutman)


     

    Roy Gutman set out to investigate
    what appeared to be an ethnically motivated mass expulsion of Arabs in northern Syria from late 2014 through mid-2015 by a Kurdish militia allied with the United States, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

    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.

    Debris from a demolished home is loaded onto a truck. Detroit’s demolition protocol requires that dust be sprayed down, which is not occurring in this case. (Photo for The Nation by Eilís O’Neill)


     

    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.

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Grantee leads Nepalese journalists in reporting of quake aftermath

    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.

    Race plays role in court cases in Oregon

    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.]

    Diversity fellowships announced

    January 23rd, 2017

     

    Jan. 23, 2017

    FOR IMMEDIATE
    RELEASE

    Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

    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.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    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 »