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.

    Washington state officials say foster care system in ‘crisis’

    September 27th, 2016

    foster_careWith no place else to take foster children, social workers in Washington state’s Puget Sound area have increasingly resorted to housing children in hotels at night, then babysitting them in child welfare offices during the day.

    As InvestigateWest reported, in partnership with “Crosscut” and KCTS Television, the state has grown so desperate that it pays some foster parents up to $325 a night – more than 10 times the normal daily rate. And because there are no regular foster families to take them, some children spend nights at group facilities for runaways and youths with severe mental health problems. State officials concede the system is in “crisis.”

    [In photo, Angelique Kelley (center) was fortunate to have been adopted as a teen out of foster care by Lauren Hubbard and Reiley Wicken. But the scars of her 17 moves in foster care remain. Photo by Paul Joseph Brown/InvestigateWest]

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    Unraveling the ties between Southern governors’ group and oil drilling in Atlantic

    September 26th, 2016

    oil-rigEarlier this year, President Obama announced an offshore drilling plan that excluded the Atlantic. As Facing South reported earlier this year, it was a major setback for the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, which Facing South described as “a secretive group founded in 2011 to revive and expand offshore drilling in the wake of the BP disaster.”

    As part of her three-part series on Atlantic drilling, Sue Sturgis, the editorial director of Facing South and the Institute for Southern Studies, unraveled the unusual relationships between the Governors Coalition and the oil and gas industries.

    [Photo by J. Stephen Conn via Flickr.]

    [Reporting sponsored by the Park Foundation.]


    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:

    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:


    Religious nonprofits lag in efforts to bring diversity to leadership ranks

    September 20th, 2016

    Rabey_parachurchesWhile some evangelicals might dismiss talk about diversity, others say it’s a theological imperative. Steve Rabey, writing for Religion News Service and the Colorado Springs Gazette, reports that women and people of color aren’t well represented in the leadership ranks of so-called parachurches — the thousands of religious nonprofit groups involved in various forms of Christian ministry.

    (Photo of Jane Overstreet, one of the few women to lead a nonprofit religious ministry, is courtesy of Caleb Overstreet and Developmental Associates International.)

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

    Can the rise of conviction review units fix a ‘broken justice system’?

    September 19th, 2016


    Concern over people being wrongly imprisoned has prompted the rise of conviction review units across the country, now in 24 jurisdictions nationwide, from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. But as Christopher Ketcham reports in CounterPunch, the attempt by prosecutors to self-police may only be a stopgap measure in what he and others call a broken justice system.

    [Reporting sponsored by The Park Foundation.]

    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 »