The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 5pm EST
  • 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.

    When Wall Street Invests in Plantations

    August 27th, 2014

    BadgleyFrom Cameroon, Christiane Badgley reports for Foreign Policy on the bulldozing of forest land for plantations of trees which produce an oil used as biofuel, and for household purposes such as cooking.  “The world is upside down,” the founder of a Cameroon NGO told Badgley, because the country has to import $600 million worth of food each year, while striking deals favorable to international agricultural ventures. The investors are allowed to buy land cheaply, receive tax breaks, and despite publicly proclaimed goals of lifting local people out of poverty, the projects raise many unsettling questions. Will the development be environmentally sustainable, and will it turn self-sufficient farmers into low-wage plantation workers?

    [Reporting sponsored by The Green Park Foundation.]

    Photo credit: Christiane Badgley

     

     

     

     

    FIJ Awards Grants to Investigative Reporters

    August 11th, 2014

    (Washington) – The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has awarded nearly $80,000 in grants to support journalists working on 18 projects in the United States and abroad. The journalists are investigating negligence, corruption, and abuse of power in fields such as mental health, government contracting, and criminal justice.

    Since 1969, FIJ has supported independent investigative reporters with grants that cover the cost of reporting, such as travel, document fees, equipment rental; smalls stipend are also considered as part of the overall grant. A typical grant is $5,000.

    The following reporters received FIJ awards:

    Mark Betancourt, DC-based multimedia journalist

    Mariah Blake, Mother Jones

    Adriana Cardona-Maguigad and Rafael Franco Steeves, fellows with the Social Justice News Nexus at Northwestern University

    Beth Cortez-Neavel, Austin-based multimedia and data journalist

    Allyn Gaestel, international freelance journalist

    Wanjohi Kabukuru, Kenya-based journalist

    Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein, journalist and Columbia College of Chicago journalism professor

    Jeremy Knop, Montana Center for Investigative Reporting

    Christian Locka, multi-media investigative reporter

    Claudine LoMonaco, Berlin-based freelance reporter and radio producer

    Daniel McGraw, Cleveland-based investigative reporter and author

    Caitlin McNally, documentary filmmaker

    Christopher Richard, LA-based investigative reporter

    Mark Richardson, investigative reporter specializing in government and politics

    Joseph Sorrentino, Albuquerque-based photographer and journalist, focused on the US-Mexico border region

    Loren Stein, DC-based investigative journalist

    Estacio Valoi, Mozambican investigative journalist

    WAMU-Radio investigative staff

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism is supported by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, The Park Foundation, The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation, The Green Park 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.

    UPCOMING DEADLINE: FIJ is currently accepting applications for its next round of grant-making. The deadline is Monday, September 8, at 5pm Eastern time.

    Payday Lending Controls Stymied in Iowa

    August 11th, 2014

    Payday LoansIowaWatch reports on the behind-the-scenes money in the battle to curb payday lending in Iowa:

    Campaign contributions to Iowa legislators from payday loan-associated donors totaled over $480,000 between 2003 and 2013, according to Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board data collected by IowaWatch. An additional $800,000 has flowed into the state as payday loan companies and interest groups contract lobbyists to speak in favor of the industry in the Iowa Statehouse….

    With state legislation stalling, Iowa cities have taken action. Over the past four years, nine Iowa cities passed ordinances restricting locations for new payday loans stores. But cities can’t control interest rates.

    Waterloo City Council Member Pat Morrissey, who spearheaded Waterloo’s recent ordinance, said he hoped action at the municipal level could spur the state government into action.

    “Just the concept of payday loans is atrocious. It’s usury and takes advantage of people who can least afford it and puts them in a cycle of debt,” Morrissey said.

    IowaWatch also provides a behind-the-scenes look at its reporting project.

    Photo credit: Inma Mateos/IowaWatch

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

    “Under Water”

    August 11th, 2014

    Eastern shore of Alameda islandNew America Media has published a special investigative report on sea levels rising in immigrant and minority communities in Northern California. In conjunction with several Bay Area ethnic media outlets, the New America Media reporters found that low income communities were particularly vulnerable, without resources to insure against loss, recover from storms, or – the most basic – to flee in the event of emergencies.

    As Pilar Nino of Telemundo 48 reports:

    Vital thoroughfares like Highway 101 could be flooded, along with power plants, public schools and fire stations. 

    That’s why special measures like new taxes would have to be undertaken by people to confront this threat, said San Mateo Mayor Robert Ross.

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

     

    The Future of Medical Research

    August 7th, 2014

    AmandaAmanda Wilson has the story of a North Carolina town that found new purpose after the Cannon towels mill shut down. That is: supplying human subjects for medical research projects far into the future. For Pacific Standard, she reports:

    The [Duke University] spinoff is a joint venture with LabCorp, one of the largest clinical lab testing firms in the U.S. In the partnership, Duke brings biological material to the table—20 percent of the samples from the MURDOCK Study—and LabCorp brings cash: $24 million. The goal of the new company is to rapidly turn discoveries from the MURDOCK Study into intellectual property and lab-test products.

    IF THOSE PRODUCTS GO to market and are successful, it will no doubt be good for Kannapolis; one way or another, some portion of the profits will probably filter through the town’s economy. But it’s not exactly clear how. A generation ago, the average Kannapolite derived a sizable share of the prosperity generated by the mill. How much will the average Kannapolite share in the prosperity of ventures like the Biomarker Factory, and of the town’s new biotech economy writ large?

    Wilson talks about her story on Hear and Now, produced by NPR and WBUR-Boston.

    She also appeared on The State of Things, broadcast by WUNC and produced by North Carolina Public Radio.

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

    Photo credit: Kannapolis History Associates

    Environmental Prosecutions Rare

    August 7th, 2014

    KatesGraham Kates of The Crime Report has found that environmental violations are rarely prosecuted by the federal government.

    An excerpt: …an analysis by The Crime Report of thousands of records compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reveals that enforcement of corporate environmental crime remains extremely rare.

    More than 64,000 facilities are currently listed in agency databases as being in violation of federal environmental laws, but in most years, fewer than one-half of one percent of violations trigger criminal investigations, according to EPA records.

    The Crime Report also put together a searchable database, of EPA violations, available to the public. [Reporting sponsored by the Park Foundation.]

    Kates talked about his report on Democracy Now.

     

    The Reva and David Logan Foundation Supports Investigative Journalism

    July 29th, 2014

    Washington – The Fund for Investigative Journalism is pleased to announce that The Reva and David Logan Foundation has awarded $75,000 to help underwrite the Fund’s grant-making program for independent journalists around the world.

    This is the second year that the Fund has received a grant from The Reva and David Logan Foundation.

    The Logan family foundation’s donation in 2013 was instrumental in expanding the Fund’s grant-making program beyond the United States; it helped finance critically needed reporting of abuses around the globe, in places such as Armenia, Fiji, and Kashmir.

    “We are grateful for the support from the Logan family foundation, which comes at a time when investigative reporting is needed more and more around the world,” said Ricardo Sandoval Palos, president of the board of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. “The Logan contribution will not only underwrite investigative work of journalists abroad, but will help us make training on investigative tools and methods available to a number of promising journalists.”

    The Logans’ generosity also helps the Fund meet a Challenge Grant goal.  The net result is a matching $25,000 donation to the Fund from The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

    The Reva and David Logan Foundation supports several high-impact investigative journalism organizations, including The Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, The Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, FRONTLINE and The Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California – Berkeley.

    The Foundation has also endowed a distinguished chair in investigative reporting at UC – Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, held by veteran investigative journalist, Lowell Bergman. The Foundation also sponsors the annual Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting at the university. The 2014 Symposium brought together reporters, editors, students and philanthropists to discuss legal, safety, and financial risks faced by investigative reporters and their sources.

    When asked why his charitable giving supported investigative journalism, The Foundation’s founder, David Logan, said he considered journalism “the guardian of the public interest.”

    David Logan passed away in 2011.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism is an independent, nonprofit organization that has supported hundreds of public service reporting projects since 1969, when it provided travel expenses for Seymour Hersh to investigate the massacre of civilians by American soldiers in My Lai, Vietnam.

    In addition to Hersh, many renowned journalists received grants from the Fund early in their careers, including Lowell Bergman, Elizabeth Drew, Alan Berlow, Sandy Close, and Daniel Zwerdling.

    The Fund pays expenses and small stipends for independent reporters who have the ideas, sources, and know-how to produce groundbreaking investigative journalism, but need resources to get the work done.

    The Fund makes grants three to four times a year. The next deadline for applications is Monday, September 8, 2014. The typical grant is around $5,000.

    During the past two years, the Fund has awarded $460,000 in investigative reporting grants.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism also receives support from The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, The Park Foundation, The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, The Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation, The Gannett Foundation, The Green Park Foundation, The Nara Fund, and individual donors — many 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 relies on the support of individuals and foundations. Donations can be made online, www.fij.org, or by mail to the Fund for Investigative Journalism, 529 14th Street, NW, 13th floor, Washington DC 20045.

     

    In Fiji, a “Worthless” Precaution

    July 28th, 2014

    Fiji teacherReporting from Fiji, site of an $8.7 million get-away from rising sea levels in the Pacific, Christopher Pala reports the purchase had no clear purpose: “…while [Kiribati president Anote] Tong’s warnings of impending doom for atoll dwellers have brought him a measure of fame abroad and even a panel that nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize, in Kiribati they elicit confusion in some people and derision in others.

    “A lot of people now worry about climate change,” said Tealoy Pupu, a 20-year-old student, as she lay pandanus leaves out to dry. “We just don’t know what to think.”

    Tong’s predecessor as president, Teburoro Tito, had read the scientific studies on atoll dynamics. “The scientists tell us that our reefs are healthy and can grow and rise with the sea level, so there is absolutely no need to buy land in Fiji or anywhere else,” he said emphatically. “How can we ask for foreign aid when we spend our own money on such foolish things?”

    “We know that the whole reef structure can grow at 10 to 15 mm a year, which is faster than the expected sea-level rise,” confirmed Paul Kench, an atoll geo-morphologist at the University of Auckland.” 

    Pala’s reporting on the Fiji purchase also appeared in The Atlantic Magazine.

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

    Photo credit: Christopher Pala/IPS

    Green Park Foundation Supports Investigative Journalism

    June 9th, 2014

    Washington – The Fund for Investigative Journalism is pleased to announce The Green Park Foundation has awarded $25,000 to support the Fund’s grant-making program for independent journalists around the world.

    The Foundation grant underwrites the Fund’s program in the United States and abroad to pay expenses for independent reporters who have the ideas, sources, and know-how to produce groundbreaking investigative journalism, but need resources to get the work done.

    The Green Park Foundation’s support over the years has been responsible for enterprise reporting on climate change issues, including the investigation of an energy project in Papua New Guinea that triggered a deadly landslide – and which received US financial backing despite being at cross purposes with President Obama’s pledge to phase out fossil fuels.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism is also supported by The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, The 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 makes grants three to four times a year. 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 relies on the support of individuals and foundations. Donations can be made online, www.fij.org, or by mail to the Fund for Investigative Journalism, 529 14th Street NW – 13th floor, Washington DC 20045.

    Award for Mental Health Investigation

    June 6th, 2014

    Stuy auditoriumRong Xiaoqing of the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily has won a Deadline Club Award from the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, for her story: “The Dark Corner in an Elite High School – Mental Health of Successful Students Needs More Attention.” Rong’s story was a deeply reported examination of the mental health consequences for some students at the highly competitive Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.

    Rong also placed second in the Ippies Award for investigative reporting. The award, sponsored the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, honors work by ethnic and community media in New York. The judges’ comment: “The story showed diligent research on a sensitive and rarely examined subject.”