In its 51st year, FIJ charts course of growth with seasoned nonprofit leader who brings deep experience working with investigative journalists
WASHINGTON, DC, May 11, 2020 – The Fund for Investigative Journalism announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Eric Ferrero as the organization’s new Executive Director.
Ferrero has served in leadership roles at some of the country’s most influential and effective nonprofit organizations. He has also supported journalists and the field of journalism throughout his career. Ferrero succeeds Sandy Bergo, who retired after serving as FIJ’s Executive Director for 10 years and joined the organization’s Advisory Board.
“The Fund for Investigative Journalism’s work has never been more critical, and Eric Ferrero brings a unique blend of experience to help broaden our impact in the years ahead,” said Mark Greenblatt, President of FIJ’s Board of Directors and senior national investigative correspondent for the Scripps Washington Bureau. “Ferrero brings extensive management experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, with a deep background helping investigative journalists uncover groundbreaking stories. The entire FIJ family is thrilled to welcome him and looks forward to his leadership.”
Ferrero previously served in senior roles at the Innocence Project, the Open Society Foundations, Amnesty International USA, the American Civil Liberties Union and other national and global organizations. He has worked closely with some of the nation’s leading investigative journalists to help them cover high-impact stories, including those published or broadcast by The New Yorker, CBS News “60 Minutes,” the Washington Post, the New York Times and PBS “Frontline,” as well as in regional and specialty outlets including the Texas Tribune, the Marshall Project and WBUR. Stories that journalists reported with Ferrero’s support have led to multiple exonerations of wrongfully convicted prisoners, exposed unlawful state-sanctioned discrimination and sparked dozens of policy reforms to make government more transparent, fair and accountable. Ferrero has also spearheaded campaigns to help free journalists around the world who were imprisoned by oppressive regimes because of their reporting or commentary.
“I am humbled and excited to join the Fund for Investigative Journalism – especially right now, when so much is at stake,” Ferrero said. “For more than 50 years, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has shown that one reporter, given proper support to dig deep and keep digging, can make a profound difference in the world. Our charge now is to build on FIJ’s rich legacy and help even more journalists make an even bigger impact.”
The Fund for Investigative Journalism provides grants to investigative journalists to expose injustice, government wrongdoing, corporate malfeasance and abuses of human and environmental rights. FIJ was founded in 1969, when its first major grant helped freelancer Seymour Hersh investigate a tip about a U.S. massacre of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. His subsequent reporting won a Pulitzer Prize and marked a turning point in opposition to the Vietnam War.
Today, FIJ is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting independent investigative journalists whose work is published in established media outlets. Each year, FIJ awards more than 50 grants to help reporters complete their investigations. The organization also provides grantees mentors and access to legal advice. FIJ also provides fellowships intended to help diversify the profession. In just the last year, coverage by FIJ grantees helped spark changes in North Carolina’s sexual assault laws, legislative action on excessive police stops of Native American people in Washington State and accountability for prosecutorial misconduct and evidence tampering that tainted thousands of criminal cases in Massachusetts. FIJ grantees have won multiple Pulitzer Prizes and nearly every major award in journalism.
FIJ and its Board of Directors offer special thanks to Ana Arana, FIJ’s director of operations, who stepped in to lead the organization on an interim basis following Bergo’s retirement in December.
Currently, FIJ is awarding special emergency grants on a rolling basis for investigative journalism related to the COVID-19 pandemic. FIJ’s Board of Directors, which include an accomplished group of journalists and news managers, makes grant decisions.