The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Application Deadline

    Monday Feb. 6, 2017 - Midnight 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.

    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 »

    Family courts imperil children by being too dismissive of abuse claims

    December 6th, 2016

    diary_graphicReporter Laurie Udesky interviewed more than 30 parents and children across the United States in her two-year investigation into systemic problems in the nation’s family courts that are endangering children. Her report for 100Reporters, “Custody in Crisis,” exposed the peril faced by thousands of children nationwide as family courts give custody to sexually and physically abusive parents. Udesky found an alarming lack of accountability in a family court system that too often dismisses credible evidence of abuse, while relying on dubious theories to subvert the protective parents’ credibility.

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

    In Mexican tourist town, progress comes with a cost

    December 5th, 2016

    tulumThe town of Tulum, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, has become a hugely popular tourist destination for “eco-chic” travelers seeking a boutique beach experience, according to a report by Oscar Lopez for Newsweek. But paradise comes at a price: As real estate values have soared, environmentalists and residents have been forced into battle against rich businessmen and powerful politicians who are seeking to develop the land by any means necessary.

    [In photo, a worker cleans a stretch of Tulum’s beaches. Though Tulum looks pristine, the town’s infrastructure is foundering, with raw sewage spilling into one of the largest underground river systems in the world. Photo by Oscar Lopez.]

    [Reporting sponsored by donations made through the Catalogue for Philanthropy.]

    Ministries not always forthcoming about how they use donations

    December 2nd, 2016

    rabeyFoundations, corporations and individual Americans gave $119 billion in 2015 to religious charities. Steve Rabey, reporting for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Religion News Service, found that some of these charities aren’t very forthcoming about how they spend their money. Reporting for the Gazette, Rabey delved into the financials of some of his community’s largest ministries. But not all complied with his request for records — in apparent violation of transparency standards of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. In his piece for RNS, Rabey took a broader look at financial transparency among the country’s largest religious ministries.

    [In photo, Ed Anderson, Compassion International’s chief financial officer, discusses information systems with ministry workers in Thailand in October. Photo courtesy of Compassion International.]

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

    November 23rd, 2016

    ‘GIVING TUESDAY’ is November 29. Please donate and support independent watchdog journalism.


    NOVEMBER 2016
    Training fellowships boost watchdog journalism

    Idris Akinbajo, an investigative reporter from Nigeria, is hopeful that his country’s maturing democracy will mean more government transparency and perhaps lead to increased availability of government data.

    Akinbajo, who has been twice named Nigeria’s “Journalist of the Year,” certainly has the journalistic chops to report aggressively on the issues facing his country. But he wants to be better prepared to analyze the data that might soon become available.

    “The sheer volume and complexity of some of the data means basic investigative journalism skills might not be enough to analyze the information,” he said, noting that data journalism is mostly absent from Nigerian newsrooms. “How to sort the data, knowing where to look and how to understand the data were some of the essential techniques I wanted to develop.”

    Through the generosity of the Reva & David Logan Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism provided opportunities for six foreign-based journalists, including Akinbajo, to attend conferences so they could further hone their reporting skills and network with other investigative journalists. Read the rest of this entry »

    As need for home care rises, agencies lag in screening employees

    November 5th, 2016

    margulis_caregiversAs the need for personal care attendants rises for the country’s aging baby boomers, concern is also rising about the quality of care being dispensed by caregiver placement agencies. Jennifer Margulis, reporting for Oregon’s Jefferson Public Radio, documents how some families are let down by for-profit in-home care agencies that don’t adequately screen their workers – in some cases, failing to conduct thorough criminal background checks.

    [In photo: Shoshanah Dubiner, 73, says she and her husband both want to stay in their home in Ashland, Oregon, as they age. They worry about the quality of care from caregivers hired through placement agencies. (Photo by Jennifer Margulis)]

    [Reporting sponsored by the Park Foundation.]

    October 29th, 2016

    OCTOBER 2016
    Logan Foundation gives generously to FIJ

    The Reva & David Logan Foundation has been a valued patron of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and we are grateful for its continued generosity. The foundation recently awarded FIJ another $85,000 – the fourth year it has supported our mission of funding independent investigative journalists.

    “This gift is an honor and a challenge: It recognizes the impact of investigations we’ve underwritten, and pushes us to seek out projects with the potential to bring about important social change,” said FIJ’s board president, Ricardo Sandoval Palos.

    Our funders allow FIJ journalists to produce compelling work worthy of recognition. Here’s a recent sampling:

    —Adriana Cardona-Maguigad won two prestigious awards – the Sigma Delta Chi award for radio documentaries and an Edward R. Murrow Award – for her investigation into how drug addicts from Puerto Rico end up on Chicago’s streets.

    —The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting won an Edward R. Murrow Award and recognition from IRE for its report on an entrenched system of political employees that soaks up $2 million in taxpayer dollars each year.

    —Susan Southard received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for her debut nonfiction book, “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,” about the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan during World War II.

    —City Limits and its reporter Kate Pastor garnered award-winning praise from the New York Press Club for an ongoing series on housing.

    —Francesca Lyman received an “Arlene Award for Writing that Makes a Difference” from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for her expose on thrift stores for InvestigateWest.

    —Halle Stockton was a 2016 finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her PublicSource series on psychotropic drugs prescribed to juvenile offenders.

    Next application deadline: Monday, Feb. 6, 2017


    Read the rest of this entry »

    Online database draws attention to stolen artifacts

    October 28th, 2016

    stolen_memoryThe trafficking of stolen cultural or historical artifacts is a worldwide concern, but an underreported one. David Hidalgo and the Peruvian investigative site Ojo Público launched an online catalogue of stolen artifacts that could help draw attention to the problem. Four independent teams across Latin America contributed to the cross-border endeavor, which included investigative journalists, computer programmers and data analysts. Relying on information collected from government agencies, independent organizations and Interpol, the group amassed a census of stolen art that begins to reveal the reach of a global network of smuggled items that the United Nations says generates billions of dollars in illegal profits.

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

    Native Americans seek to draw attention to police-related deaths in their communities

    October 18th, 2016

    Version 2The death of Jackie Salyers, a pregnant 32-year-old Puyallup tribal member, went mostly unnoticed when police in Tacoma, Washington, shot her in the head in January. As publicity over police shootings intensifies, scant attention has been focused on Native Americans who are killed by authorities, according to Stephanie Woodard’s report for “In These Times.” According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and multiple other tabulations, police kill Native Americans at a rate higher than any other group. Inspired by the “Idle No More” and “Black Lives Matter” campaigns, Native Americans are working to focus attention on police-related deaths in their communities and address the root causes of the violence.

    (Photo: Lisa Earl has joined the Puyallup tribe in mourning victims of police violence, including her daughter Jackie Salyers, who was pregnant at the time Tacoma police shot her. Photo by Joseph Zummo.)

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

    Despite growing threat from mines, U.S. Navy still has no viable replacement for aging Sea Dragon helicopter fleet

    October 4th, 2016

    sea-dragonThe Navy’s aging fleet of minesweeping helicopters is in disrepair. In fact, less than a fourth of the 28 remaining Sea Dragons are in flying shape at any given time, according to a two-part report by Mike Hixenbaugh and Jason Paladino in The Virginian-Pilot.

    In partnership with UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program, the pair reported that the Navy needs to keep the Sea Dragon in service through at least 2025, and likely for years beyond that, because there is no viable replacement for the aircraft – despite the growing threat posed by mines.

    More than a quarter-million ocean mines are held in the inventories of 50 navies around the world, including Iran, China and North Korea.

    (In accompanying photo, Virginian-Pilot reporter Mike Hixenbaugh boards a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter in Bahrain while on a reporting assignment for UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program. Photo by Jason Paladino.)

    [Reporting sponsored by the Ethics and Excellence Foundation.]