The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Deadline: Feb. 4, 2019 (11:59 pm Eastern)

  • 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.


     

    Announcements from the Fund for Investigative Journalism and work from FIJ grant recipients

    Minerals from militia-controlled mines in Congo flow into marketplace despite U.S. law meant to prevent armed groups from financial gain in the trade of minerals

    April 25th, 2018

    Buried in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a provision requiring publicly listed American companies to disclose if their tin, tungsten, coltan or gold come from Congo or its neighboring countries. It was inserted into the 2010 landmark legislation to stem the trade in resources that fuels armed groups in parts of Africa. While American companies are required to conduct due diligence to minimize risks that minerals could be fueling militias, that effort is at best a work in progress, according to reporting by Laura Kasinof for The WorldPost.

    Since Dodd-Frank, militias in eastern Congo have proliferated and minerals coming from militia-controlled mines are still making their way into the global market.

    In photo by Laura Kasinof,  a miner emerges from the 500-foot deep Kachuba tin mine in February.
    [Funding for this project was provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Kentucky reporting center wins Peabody Award for investigation into state lawmaker

    April 24th, 2018

    The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has received a Peabody Award, broadcasting’s highest honor, for “The Pope’s Long Con,” the center’s five-part series on “a Kentucky preacher-turned-politician’s web of lies.”

    The package was reported by R.G. Dunlop and Jacob Ryan, and produced by Laura Ellis, exposed what the center said was a series of deceptions over decades by state Rep. Dan Johnson, a self-anointed “pope, bishop and minister to outcasts.”

    A grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism supported the work.

    “This award gives national recognition to the power and necessity of local reporting at a time when journalism everywhere is under threat. As a nonprofit newsroom, we’re fortunate to have a community in Louisville that provides a strong backbone for this work, ” Stephen George, interim president of Louisville Public Media, said on its website.

    SPJ honors WNIN for investigation into Indiana psychologist

    April 24th, 2018

    The Society of Professional Journalists is honoring Indiana public radio station WNIN with a Sigma Delta Chi Award for the station’s year-long investigation into an Indiana psychologist whose mental evaluations are now under scrutiny. The psychologist had admitted to authorities that he had falsified a mental evaluation in one criminal case, prompting authorities to launch an inquiry that encompassed nearly 80 other criminal cases in which the psychologist had provided evaluations. WNIN’s own inquiry, “A Scar on the System: The Case of Albert Fink,” uncovered more than ten thousand Social Security disability claims for which the psychologist provided exams or testing.

    FIJ provided financial support for the project.

    Gaps in federal law pose challenges in addressing sexual harassment, discrimination, assault in Native America

    April 10th, 2018

    Rebecca Clarren dug through databases and tribal court files for her report, co-written with Jason Begay, on sexual discrimination, harassment and assault in tribal workplaces.  Their piece for InvestigateWest, “Confronting the ‘Native Harvey Weinsteins,'” which was also run by The Nation, showed the challenges in investigating such violations. Part of the problem, Clarren and Begay report, stems from the the federal government’s decision to exempt tribes from the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Fewer than twenty tribes have created their own legal codes to fill this void.

    Navajo Nation Council member Amber Crotty, in photo, stunned her colleagues in a 2016 speech that spotlighted sexual harassment on her reservation. (Photo courtesy of Amber Crotty.)

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.]

    Book details double life of civil rights photographer, FBI informant

    April 10th, 2018

    Marc Perrusquia’s new book, A Spy In Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, tells how a long-running newspaper investigation uncovered civil rights photographer Ernest Withers’ double life as a paid FBI informant. Released March 27 by Melville House in New York, the book reveals that Withers helped the FBI monitor a broad range of individuals and organizations active in the civil rights, peace and labor movements in Memphis between 1958 and 1976, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Communist Party, the Black Panthers, the Congress of Racial Equality and the Southern Student Organizing Committee. The Washington Post recently reviewed the book. The Washington Post recently reviewed the book.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Park Foundation.]

    UC Berkeley investigative program teams with FRONTLINE on labor trafficking

    April 6th, 2018

    Daffodil Altan, Andrés Cediel, and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, have teamed with FRONTLINE to tell the story of Guatemalan teens forced to work against their will on an egg farm in Ohio. The investigation into labor trafficking exposes a criminal network that exploits undocumented minors, companies that profit from forced labor and the role of the  U.S. government. The documentary, “Trafficked in America,” aired on April 24, 2018, on PBS stations.

     

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.]

    Farmers face uncertainty because of land deals and sale of mineral rights

    April 4th, 2018

    For decades, the Tennessee Valley Authority bought and traded mineral rights from energy companies in Illinois. During that time, from a period stretching from the 1960s into the 1980s, the TVA also signed deals with hundreds of farmers who agreed to sell their mineral rights and promised to sell their land if it was needed for mining. But as Kari Lydersen reports for Energy News Network, many of those farmers or their descendants now regret those deals, saying they never imagined the situation would play out as it has: with private companies profiting handsomely off the coal and using a destructive form of mining that was not common at the time they signed. Meanwhile the terms of TVA’s little-known leases seem like worse deals for the public than leases for BLM coal that have been widely criticized; and the mine continues to expand despite serious safety and environmental concerns.

    In photo by Kari Lydersen for Energy News Network, Pat and Mark Kern could be forced to sell their farm because of a deal Mark’s father signed almost four decades ago.

    [Funding for this project was provided by the Park Foundation and the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism.]

    FIJ awards nearly $60K in grants for 8 investigative projects

    March 30th, 2018

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded $58,535 in reporting grants for eight projects that will help shine light on potential abuses of power, expose significant shortcomings in social institutions and give voice to people who seldom have the platform to share their stories.

    Among the grant recipients:

    Katti Gray, a veteran journalist who mainly covers health and criminal justice issues;
    Christina Goldbaum, an independent investigative journalist based in East Africa;
    InvestigateWest, a Seattle-based journalism nonprofit;
    James McNair, a Cincinnati-based investigative reporter;
    Aly Pachter and the staff of the Georgetown University newspaper, The Hoya;
    Jenni Monet, an independent journalist who reports extensively on the rights of the country’s indigenous people;
    Alisa Partlan and Hella Winston, two New York-based investigative journalists; and
    Robin Urevich, a Los Angeles-based reporter.

    Applications are now being accepted at investigate.submittable.com for the next round of grants. The deadline is Monday, May 7, 2018. Read the rest of this entry »

    Violence and death escalate as El Salvador tightens ‘iron fist’ on gangs

    March 15th, 2018

    In her first installment of a series of stories focused on anti-gang security policies in El Salvador, FIJ/Schuster Institute fellow Danielle Mackey reports on the rising number of enfrentamientos — or “shoot-outs” — that have taken the lives of young El Salvadorans. The number of civilian victims in these enfrentamientos has jumped from 39 in 2013 to 591 in 2016. But as Mackey reports for World Politics Review (non-subscription link here), the killings of many suspected gang members may not have been the result of shoot-outs, as police claim, but were extra-judicial executions carried out under a zero-tolerance policy put in place by national police. According to Mackey’s report, a group of middle-school boys were among the victims of the police crackdown on gangs, including the so-called MS-13, a violent street gang with origins in Los Angeles, California.
    (In a 2010 file photo by Oscar Leiva (@oleivaphoto), a soldier performs a random stop-and-search in the neighborhood of a young father in  the municipality of Mejicanos, San Salvador.)
    [[Funding for this project was provided by the Ford Foundation.]

    FIJ, Schuster Institute name next class of investigative journalism fellows

    March 5th, 2018

    Four Investigative Reporters Selected for 2018 Social Justice Investigative Reporting Fellowship and Grants

    The fellowship is a collaboration of the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, with support from the Ford Foundation

     

    Feb. 26, 2018–The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University are pleased to announce the 2018 winners of our nationally competitive journalism initiative funded by the Ford Foundation, with the express goal of increasing diverse and inclusive voices and topics in investigative journalism.

    Four journalists have been awarded grants and fellowships for social justice investigative reporting projects: Danielle Mackey, Johnny Magdaleno, Luis Trelles and Chandra Thomas Whitfield. The fellows will investigate critical contemporary issues such as racial disparities in domestic violence cases, treatment for opioid addiction, Central American gangs, and the government’s handling of natural disasters.

    Judges for the selection process said the need for such reporting is great and that the quality of the proposals received reflects the outstanding pool of talented independent reporters seeking funding and support for groundbreaking stories that can have far-reaching impacts.

    “Journalism must take hard looks at all levels of society. We are proud to help these talented investigative reporters who are tackling such important topics,” said Marcia Bullard, president of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. “We’re especially grateful for the support of the Ford Foundation and the Schuster Institute and their commitment to social justice issues.”

    “The wider perspective that diverse voices and experiences provide strengthens the effort investigative journalists make to keep government, corporations and others in power accountable. The truth is, the need for diversity among journalists investigating and telling important, under-covered stories has never been greater,” said Florence Graves, Schuster Institute founding director and editor-in-chief. “We are honored to be part of this initiative with our partners, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Ford Foundation, and are eager to work with the new fellows.” Read the rest of this entry »