Dear friends and colleagues,
Greetings from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
We sincerely hope you find yourself surrounded by family and good friends during this holiday season – and that you have the time to enjoy it all.
Amid the hustle and bustle this time of year, we hope our friends in and outside the world of journalism can take a few seconds to reflect on how dedicated reporters were able to overcome our industry’s growing challenges and delivered stellar investigative work in 2014.
It is indeed tougher these days to dedicate sufficient time and resource to investigative journalism. Readers say they want it; publishers say they’re committed to it. Yet the amount of money earmarked by the commercial news trade for investigative reporting continues to shrink. More investigative journalists face the prospect of letting stories go for a lack of resources. More journalists are digging into their own shallow pockets – even borrowing money – to bring projects to print or air.
The refreshing news is that 2014 was a very good year for investigative journalism – deep, aggressively researched stories yielded change around the world.
At the end of my first year as president of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I can say with pride that 12 of the best minds in the business came together in 2014 and distributed $216,000 to 49 journalists around the globe.
You can see what FIJ grants yielded this year at our website, www.fij.org
Here is one example of the impact journalism we supported:
Columbia Journalism Review online features Isaiah Thompson, an FIJ grantee who in 2012 and 2013 broke stories about millions of dollars in civil asset forfeitures in Philadelphia, through Philadelphia City Paper and then Pro Publica.(http://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/isaiah_thompson_civil_forfeitu.php)
Thompson parlayed a $4,000 grant from FIJ into a project that exposed a major wrong. A lawsuit has been filed against the practice in Philadelphia. It’s a challenge I am sure law enforcement and prosecutors around the country will follow closely.
This is what FIJ does: Our grants, which in 2014 averaged around $4,400, are designed to help independent investigative journalists cover expenses and take the extra steps necessary to complete a project.
FIJ continues to grow, and with careful planning and new outreach programs, we expect 2015 to be our biggest, busiest year. We have gotten to this level with tremendous support of foundations and families who share our goal of sustaining independent journalists who hold truth to power.
But our real strength is the mutual support of like-minded journalists. Take our board, for example. Not only did these outstanding journalists volunteer time and intellect, they all contributed their own, individual donations to FIJ in 2014.
A check, or an online contribution of just a few dollars, makes all the difference.
Look at what we did in 2014. Imagine what we will do in 2015 with your valuable support.
Here are a couple of painless ways to contribute, to accelerate the investigative work FIJ will continue to support in 2015 and well into the future:
Old-school mail: Fund for Investigative Journalism, 529 14th Street, NW – 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045
Saludos! And happy holidays.
Ricardo Sandoval-Palos – President, Fund for Investigative Journalism board of directors