FIJ expands to provide “seed grants” of up to $2,500 to freelance investigative journalists for initial research and reporting
NEW YORK, NY; APRIL 25, 2023 – A successful program launched by the Gumshoe Group several years ago to provide small grants to freelance reporters for early reporting that can lead to full investigative stories will move to the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the two groups announced today.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism will begin providing grants of $1,000 to $2,500 to freelance journalists for preliminary reporting and research, such as public-records requests, early interviews, access to databases, journalistic tools or other equipment, travel support, or support for reporters’ time as they pursue journalism projects in the public interest. The first deadline to apply for these grants is May 22.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism was founded in 1969 and provides grants and other support directly to journalists for groundbreaking investigative stories on any topic in any medium. Currently, the Fund provides grants up to $10,000 for the expenses of investigations. The new “seed grants” will provide funding much earlier in the process to help journalists flesh out stories, secure commitments from media outlets to publish or broadcast them, and pursue larger grants from the Fund and other sources.
In 2019, journalists Seth Freed Wessler and Azmat Khan launched the Gumshoe Group to support freelance investigative reporters pursuing ambitious journalism in the public interest. Over the last four years, the Gumshoe Group has connected dozens of freelancers with attorneys to help pursue public records, offered hundreds of journalists workshops and trainings, and launched a Public Records Grant program in 2021. Since then, the Gumshoe Group has provided more than $43,000 to dozens of freelance reporters to support research and filing of in-depth public records requests. As a result, reporters have investigated a range of issues, including FEMA funding of communities after Hurricane Maria, alleged FBI abuses perpetrated against “enemy combatants” following 9/11, violence perpetrated against sex workers and deaths in state prisons.
“We founded the Gumshoe Group because we knew from our own experience that freelance reporters need support at every stage of their reporting process,” said Wessler. “We are proud of our work to bolster the field of freelance investigative reporting. As we sunset Gumshoe’s operations, we’re thrilled to transition our programs to other homes.”
“The Fund for Investigative Journalism has an extraordinary track record in supporting brave investigative journalists,” said Khan. “We’re so thrilled to help launch its early reporting grants for freelancers, drawing on what we’ve learned.”
“We’re grateful to Seth and Azmat for their trust and partnership, and we’re excited to continue the Gumshoe Group’s extraordinary work,” said Eric Ferrero, Executive Director of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. “Over the last several months, we’ve asked freelance investigative reporters what they need, and one of the biggest areas they identified is funding for initial reporting that can help them develop stories, secure commitments from publishers and apply for bigger grants. That’s what this new program will do – ultimately fostering even more public-service journalism across the country.”
To transition the grant program to the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the Gumshoe Group is providing $40,000 to cover the first year of grants, as well as its application materials and evaluation processes.
For more on grants available from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, go to https://fij.org/apply-for-a-grant/.
For highlights of the Gumshoe Group’s work and impact, go to https://www.gumshoegroup.org/new-page-2.