The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Feb. 6, 2017 - 5pm Eastern Time
  • How FIJ Helped to Uncover the My Lai Massacre

    Seymour HershClick here to hear veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh tell how – with financial support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism – he learned about the massacre of civilians in Vietnam, how he tracked down Lt. William Calley and, in so doing, changed the world’s perception of American intervention in Southeast Asia. It demonstrates how small grants from our fund have enabled talented journalists to produce big, important stories, changing the course of history.

    Diversity Initiative Supports Social Justice Reporting

    Through a collaboration underwritten by a Ford Foundation grant, The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University have joined forces to broaden opportunities for independent investigative reporting by women and journalists of color. Four independent, U.S.-based reporters with strong proposals to investigate significant systemic or social justice issues will receive competitively awarded grants up to $9,000 to pay for costs such as travel, document fees, equipment rentals, and small stipends.

    Missing fugitives: Authorities sometimes lose track of probation and parole violators

    September 17th, 2016

    A federal agent takes Antonio Alejandro Garcia, 37, to a car to await a ride to jail following his arrest in Tucson on May 3, 2016. Garcia was wanted for a probation violation in one case and for leaving his sentencing in a separate case. (Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)

    As Liz Navratil reported for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, federal data shows more than 4 million people in the United States are on parole, probation or similar programs. In 2014, more than 350,000 returned to jail, with nearly 100,000 of them for new crimes.

    Research shows that addressing violations quickly reduces the probability that probationers and parolees will go on to commit new crimes.

    Yet, agencies across the country often lose track of probation and parole violators – in some cases, leading to horrendous consequences.

    (In photo, a federal agent assists in the arrest of Antonio Alejandro Garcia, 37, in Pima County, Arizona. Garcia was wanted for a probation violation in one case and for leaving his sentencing in another case. Photo by Andrew Rush, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    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,, 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, through October 1.


    “We Have Water But It’s Not Drinkable”

    August 29th, 2016

    Kent Paterson of Frontera NorteSur, in the first of a series on small town governance, describes how the excessive levels of arsenic in water supplies along the southern border of New Mexico, a longstanding problem, was exacerbated by the complete break-down of two water treatment plants. The utility in charge of delivering clean water belatedly notified residents of a consistent pattern of violations, going back four years, but the lack of consistent, timely notifications was itself a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. “… some of the basic elements of Management 101 hadn’t been followed,” according to a local official.

    Public DomainAnd finally, the small town of Hatch, New Mexico, having slowly recovered – by and large – from a devastating 2006 flash flood, struggles for a way to protect itself from future floods. The community is particularly vulnerable because most people living there have no flood insurance.

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


    3-day conference gives FIJ training fellow more insights to investigative techniques

    August 22nd, 2016

    Roza_ConferenceBy Roza Hovhannisyan

    With the assistance of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I attended the Summer Conference of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London on July 14-16, 2016. It was an excellent opportunity to improve my professional skills. The three-day conference included training sessions on various topics, and over 150 journalists from different countries of the world could choose panels that were most useful to them.

    What new things did I learn from this course?

    The focus of the CIJ Summer Conference was very much on data, with a wide range of sessions, from hands-on workshops to case studies.

    The most effective topics for me were the following:

    • How to get the most out of the data tracks for maximum impact;
    • The power of data analysis for stories;
    • Finding patterns in the data;
    • Method Through the Madness; and
    • Creative techniques.

    The session delivered by Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier, the two German journalists who played a large role in the reporting on the Panama Papers, was especially useful and provided me with lots of new journalistic insights.

    How should an investigative journalist collect the documents and data needed for his or her article? What principles should he or she follow to write an objective and interesting article? I received answers to these questions during the three-day conference.

    I would like to add that during this visit I discovered London because it was my first visit there. Visiting other countries is important for a journalist to expand their knowledge. I was able to do that thanks to the financial assistance of FIJ for which I am grateful.

    [Editors note: Hovhannisyan is a journalist for in Yerevan, Armenia.]

    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 »

    In the age of data, FIJ training fellow sorts through investigative opportunities

    August 9th, 2016

    By Idris Akinbajo

    LONDON — Gavin MacFadyen’s passion could be heard in his voice as he welcomed the scores of journalists and media professionals gathering for a three-day investigative journalism conference organized by the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London.

    Journalism in the UK and indeed globally was at a crucial stage, said MacFadyen, the centre’s director. Only good investigative journalism, he said, can help restore public confidence in the Fourth Estate.

    For three days, the attendees took part in seminars and training sessions at the Goldsmith University of London. As expected by anyone who has attended such journalism conferences, the first challenge facing an attendee was always deciding what sessions to attend.

    While the sessions involved various investigative techniques like story mapping, sourcing and so on, my primary interest was data journalism.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Grants Awarded

    August 8th, 2016

    (Washington) The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded $52,000 in grants to support the expenses of 14 investigative journalists working on stories in the United States and around the world. Grants from FIJ help freelancers and reporters working for nonprofit news organizations cover expenses such as document retrieval, travel, and equipment rental.

    The grantees are: Read the rest of this entry »

    Finding Funding for Investigative Projects

    August 4th, 2016

    IMG_0693(Washington) If you’ve got a great story, you can find the funding to get it done. That was the message from Phillip Martin, WGBH-Boston senior investigative reporter and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

    “There’s always a place for good journalism and there’s always funding for good journalism,” he told a packed conference room at the 2016 convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists, held in Washington DC this week.

    Martin has won several grants and fellowships that allowed him to pursue stories that he wanted to do but his employer could not afford. His stories on human trafficking were honored with the national Edward R. Murrow Award. A 2012 fellowship from the International Center for Journalists financed the travel.

    If a grant or fellowship application is turned down, “do not give up,” said Martin. Oftentimes, an applicant can find out why the proposal was rejected, do extra research, resubmit and get the grant.

    Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) president Ricardo Sandoval Palos moderated the panel on “Finding Funding,” and announced that several organizations have launched initiatives this year to provide training, grants and fellowships, specifically targeted for journalists of color, to address the “embarrassing dearth” of investigative reporters of color in the U. S.

    Partnering with the Schuster Institute, FIJ has launched one of those initiatives, financed by the Ford Foundation, offering $9,000 grants paired with Schuster fellowships to women and journalists of color. Applications are being taken now through October 1 at Read the rest of this entry »

    Inside the San Diego Power Plant Deals

    July 26th, 2016

    SanDiegopowerFrom inewsource reporters Chris Young and Ingrid Lobet, an investigation into how a buying binge of power plants led to a boost in electricity rates for San Diego residents, now among the highest in the nation. Deals were struck that may have also set the stage for ongoing criminal investigations. Inewsource is a San Diego based nonprofit news organization.

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

    Photo credit: Megan Wood

    FIJ Grantee from Kenya Reports on Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference

    July 13th, 2016

    Rosalia at IREBy Rosalia Omungo

    NEW ORLEANS — It all began with a tweet from a lady working in an organization concerned about governance of water bodies such as rivers. On responding to the tweet, she informed me of the danger that was being posed to Lake Turkana in Kenya due to the construction of Gibe 111 dam in Ethiopia, urging me to follow up on the story. I went a notch higher and presented a proposal to the Fund for Investigative Journalism to investigate the story, which was accepted. It is because of this investigative series that highlighted the plight of Kenyans and even Ethiopians that I landed an opportunity to attend the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in New Orleans in June 2017.

    It was a time for the crème de la crème in investigative reporting globally to converge in New Orleans to share their work and share ideas on how to make investigative reporting better. Sessions explored several themes ranging from data journalism, health reporting freelancing and business journalism. I was happy to be a panelist in the session on uncovering stories on the environmental beat, alongside other journalists from the Society for Environmental Journalists (SEJ). I was able to share my work in environmental reporting in Kenya with conference participants.

    My presentation focused on Gibe III dam in Ethiopia, its connection to Lake Turkana in the North of Kenya and the predicament facing residents who rely on the Lake for water for domestic purposes. The audience applauded the Turkana reporting for the series #Lake TurkanaUnder Siege, saying it was an important avenue for the vulnerable community to share their plight. Read the rest of this entry »