Hiring of director of operations underway, as FIJ looks to grow

Applications are in for a Director of Operations, a new FIJ position that will help Executive Director Sandy Bergo and the Board of Directors advance the organization’s mission of supporting independent investigative journalists.

The new staffer will help ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency. The position will oversee, publish this monthly newsletter and assist in managing grants, among other duties.

In other news: Winners of the next round of grants will be announced in late June. FIJ received dozens of project applications for consideration.

Four of FIJ’s seven diversity fellows recently attended the 11th Annual Reva & David Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting at the University of California, Berkeley. They joined Executive Director Sandy Bergo and Board Chairman Ricardo Sandoval-Palos for the invitation-only event. In the adjoining photo, Bergo (center) was joined by (left to right) Linda Matchan, Lottie Joiner, Sonia Paul and Jaeah Lee. FIJ and and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism are partnering for the investigative fellowship project underwritten by the Ford Foundation. The other fellowship participants will be heading to Phoenix in late June to take part in the annual Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) conference. (Photo courtesy of Lottie Joiner.)


NASA, Department of Energy fall behind in clean up of radiation

In a series of reports for The California Report,  Chris Richard investigated the long-stalled cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory near Los Angeles. He described how NASA and the Department of Energy failed to fulfill their legal commitments to remove the contamination they and other federal agencies caused, including the radiation from a partial nuclear meltdown a half century ago. Richard reports that the environmental damage has yet to be fully addressed. A final segment examined similar regulatory failures by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.  (Jeanne Fjelstad hands out a leaflet warning visitors to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory of remaining chemical and nuclear contamination. (Photo by Chris Richard/KQED.)


Over the past 15 years, the U.S. government  has quietly released more than 400 people convicted on international terrorism-related charges. Some were deported to other countries following their prison terms, but a large number of convicted terrorists remain in the United States.Reporting for the Intercept, Trevor Aaronson tells this story through the case of the Liberty City Seven, a group of men caught up in an FBI counterterrorism sting in Miami in 2006. A decade later, all but one of the Liberty City Seven defendants are free, suggesting these so-called terrorists weren’t particularly dangerous in the first place. Aaronson’s latest piece is part of a larger body of work that examined 15 years of international terrorism prosecutions in the United States.

In the last four years, 21 members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department   have been convicted of federal crimes, including the department’s popular former sheriff Lee Baca. The head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office described the LASD as having a “toxic culture of corruption seen only in the movies.” A three-part investigation by Celeste Fremon for WitnessLA examined possible incidents of fraud relating to a fleet of Sea King helicopters loaned under a controversial Defense Department program. Fremon’s work suggests challenges remain in rooting out a culture of fraud.