The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 - 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.

    FIJ Grantee Wins Edward R. Murrow Award

    April 22nd, 2014

    Houston Ship ChannelReid Frazier has won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) for his series “The Coming Chemical Boom.” His investigation aired on The Allegheny Front, a program carried by Pennsylvania public radio stations.

    In a series of reports to inform his audience on what might happen when the petrochemical industry comes to Pennsylvania as proposed, Frazier traveled to Texas and Louisiana to report on conditions there – where the chemical industry is booming, thanks to cheap natural gas. In Houston, he found the chemical plants brought economic benefits, but that air quality suffered, increasing the risk of cancer, asthma, and heart disease.

    Photo by Reid Frazier.

    New Mexico’s Badlands

    April 10th, 2014

    SORRENTINOFrom Joseph Sorrentino for the Sante Fe Reporter and In These Times, the story of real estate con games that prey upon the poor in New Mexico.

    An excerpt: “People are losing their land and their money to suspect real estate deals. They’re also buying land thinking they can live there, only to learn too late that they can’t.”

    “Many people buying land in colonias are Mexican or Mexican-American, and they often speak and read only Spanish; contracts are almost always in English. Further, there’s no requirement for sellers to produce a title or title insurance to prove that they actually have the rights to the land.”

    Photo courtesy of Joseph Sorrentino.

    Kogod Professor Advises FIJ

    April 4th, 2014

    Riddick_LeighAmerican University Kogod School of Business magazine, Kogod Now, profiles associate professor Leigh Riddick, who provides pro bono business and finance advice to the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

    An excerpt from the profile:

    Sustaining a news organization is no easy feat. Riddick knows this firsthand. Her grandfather, James Bland, bought the Times-Dispatch [in Arkansas] in 1921. She worked for her grandfather and later her uncle (James Jr.) in the summers and after school. She covered trials, weddings, obituaries—and [the occasional] scandal. Her cousin John Bland runs the newspaper now….

    Like the Times-Dispatch, the FIJ contributes to the public good in a way Riddick admires.

    “I’ve been impressed with the level of organization and detail,” she said. “[They are] very frugal, clearly saving the money to put into grants.”

    Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Renews Support

    March 26th, 2014

    (Washington) – The Fund for Investigative Journalism is proud to announce that the Oklahoma City – based Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation has renewed its support for the Fund’s grant-making program.

    The Foundation has combined a $75,000 grant with a Challenge Grant to support the Fund’s assistance to investigative reporters who have tips, sources, and know-how, but need resources to cover the expenses of reporting.

    The Foundation is committed to supporting new and innovative investigative newsrooms, while challenging nonprofit journalists to grow and sustain their work by identifying new sources of revenue.

    The grant from Ethics and Excellence challenges the Fund for Investigative Journalism to raise $25,000 in new and increased sources of revenue by early next year. If the fundraising deadline is met, the Foundation will increase its annual support of the Fund for Investigative Journalism to $100,000.

    Please help us meet our Challenge Grant goals.

    You can make a donation to the Fund online,, or by mail to the Fund for Investigative Journalism, 529 14th Street NW – 13th floor, Washington DC 20045.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism is grateful for the support it receives from The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, The Park Foundation, The Green Park Foundation, The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation, The Gannett Foundation, The Nara Fund, and individual donors, many of them referred by the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington.

    Pro bono legal services are provided by Dykema Gossett PLLC, a national commercial law firm with a broad portfolio of community service and pro bono clients.

    Pro bono business advisory services are provided by Leigh Riddick, Associate Professor of Finance at The American University’s Kogod School of Business.

    The Fund is currently accepting grant applications for investigative reporting projects. The next deadline is Monday May 5 at 5pm Eastern time.

    Excess Propane Could Make Oil Tankers Explode

    March 21st, 2014

    Oil TankerFor InsideClimate News, Marcus Stern and Sebastian Jones report on possible reasons for recent explosions of oil transported by rail.

    An excerpt:  The worry, according to a half-dozen industry experts who spoke with InsideClimate News, is that some producers are adjusting the pressure settings to leave in substantial amounts of natural gas liquids.

    “There is a strong suspicion that a number of producers are cheating. They generally want to simply fill up the barrel and sell it—and there are some who are not overly worried about quality,” said Alan J. Troner, president of Houston-based Asia Pacific Energy Consulting, which provides research and analysis for oil and gas companies. “I suspect that some are cheating and this is a suspicion that at least some refiners share.”

    Photo Credit: U. S. Department of Transportation


    FIJ-Supported Author Wins “Izzy” Award

    March 18th, 2014

    Kill Anything That Moves

    Author Nick Turse, who wrote Kill Anything that Moves with support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, has shared in the 2014 I.F. Stone “Izzy” Award for his relentless investigations into civilian war deaths. The Award was established by the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.

    The award citation for Turse:

    In news pieces and a book published last year, Turse has given human form and voice to civilian victims of U.S. wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan. His acclaimed best-seller, “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam,” relied on classified Pentagon documents and fresh first-person interviews to reveal that violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was “pervasive and systematic — the predictable result of official orders.” A journalist, historian and Nation Institute fellow, he monitors current U.S. military interventionism in articles for (where he is managing editor) and The Nation, for which he coauthored the special report “America’s Afghan Victims.”

    Said Izzy judge Robert McChesney, “Nick Turse combines the fastidiousness of a serious historian and a journalist’s intuition for the big story, along with an uncompromising commitment to the truth, wherever it leads.”

    Boardman Elected to FIJ Board

    March 17th, 2014

    (Washington DC) – The Fund for Investigative Journalism announced today that David Boardman, dean of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, has been elected to its Board of Directors.

    Previously, Boardman was executive editor of the Seattle Times, which he led to four Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting, breaking news, and national news.

    He is president of the American Society of News Editors, a member of the Steering Committee of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a member of the Board of Directors of the California-based Center for Investigative Reporting, and a charter member of the Advisory Board of ProPublica, the national investigative journalism nonprofit. He also serves on the board of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

    Boardman has also served as president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, a national professional development and membership organization of investigative reporters.

    He joins a board that also recently elected members Marcia Bullard, former President and Chief Executive Officer of USA WEEKEND, and Milton Coleman, retired Senior Editor of the Washington Post.

    Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, president of The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s board, praised Boardman for his contributions to journalism.

    “For decades David has been a source of inspiration for journalists who favor the deeper story, guiding a generation of investigative reporters toward effective ways of delivering important stories to evolving audiences. David’s experience and leadership will help FIJ remain a leader in the fight to keep investigative journalism alive and relevant.”

    For more than forty years the Fund for Investigative Journalism has paid reporting expenses of reporters who have the ideas, sources, and know-how to produce groundbreaking investigative journalism but lack the resources to complete their projects.

    In the past two years, the Fund has awarded more than $400,000 in investigative reporting grants. The typical grant is around $5,000.

    The Fund receives support from foundations and from individuals. Its foundation supporters are The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, The Park Foundation, The Reva & David Logan Foundation, The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation, The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, The Gannett Foundation, The Green Park Foundation, and The Nara Fund.

    Pro bono legal services are provided by Dykema Gossett PLLC, a national commercial law firm with a broad portfolio of community service and pro bono clients.

    Pro bono business advisory services are provided by Leigh Riddick, Associate Professor of Professor of Finance at The American University’s Kogod School of Business.

    Remembering Joel Brinkley

    March 13th, 2014

    Friends and colleagues of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Joel Brinkley are remembering his range as a national, foreign, and investigative reporter, his lucid writing, and his sense of humor. Brinkley has died at age 61. Brinkley won a Pulitzer Prize as a young reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal, went on to report for the New York Times for more than twenty years, write several books, and teach journalism at Stanford University. He also served as a member of the board of the Fund for Investigative Journalism from 2000 until 2005.

    You can read more about his life in the Washington Post and the New York Times.

    Follow Up: Charges Against Whistleblower Dropped

    March 10th, 2014

    Hella photoHella Winston, an independent journalist who has investigated sexual abuse cover-ups in the Ultra Orthodox Jewish communities of New York and New Jersey, reports that a Brooklyn criminal case against a whistleblower, the father of a sex abuse victim, has fallen apart. Winston has received two grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to look into cases that had been covered up, and continues to track the developments.

    From Winston’s report: The saga of Kellner’s case, and all that preceded his arrest, encompasses both a narrative of positive change within the chasidic community and a cautionary tale…

    …Kellner himself is confident that “if, in the end, they will investigate what happened here and go after the intimidators, it would mean that all of this tampering and intimidation would end, that these people no longer run the streets. And that is probably worth the whole pain and suffering of my indictment because I don’t see any other way we could have accomplished this.”

    Sam Kellner in photo at left, with his lawyers.

    Albuquerque’s “Crime of the Century”

    March 7th, 2014

    11MurderedInABQ_300From Diana Washington Valdez, in a special report for the El Paso Times, the frustrating search for clues to solve the murders of several women whose bodies were found, many years later, in shallow graves on the outskirts of Albuquerque. Families are upset that police have made so little progress.

    An excerpt: Relatives of several of the West Mesa murder victims, whose bodies were discovered in February 2009, said police initially brushed off the possibility of a serial killer and failed to investigate the disappearances as potential kidnappings and homicides.

    “They saw them as ‘oh, just another prostitute dead,’” said Gloria Gonzalez, the aunt of Julie Nieto, one of the West Mesa victims.

    Ray Schultz, who retired as the police chief, said that wasn’t true, that police worked hard to find all missing persons.

    The families also claim that the Albuquerque Police Department appears to be distracted by a series of recent scandals, including the loss of all kinds of evidence from the evidence storage room; a U.S. Justice Department investigation into allegations of police brutality; and allegations of sexual assault by police officers. Albuquerque police denied that this is the case.