The Fund for Investigative Journalism invites proposals from Investigative journalists

Deadline- September 28, 2012

Countries/Region- All Countries

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The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) invites grant proposals for independent investigative projects from journalists who need support for travel and other reporting expenses.

FIJ’s grants are made possible through generous funding from the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Green Park Foundation, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, The Nara Fund, private family foundations, and the public.

Pro bono legal services are provided by Dykema. FIJ is also supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the Journalism Department in the College of Media at the University of Illinois.

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For more than forty years, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has supported work by independent and freelance reporters who do not have the resources to do their investigations. Grants average $5,000. The awards support the costs of reporting, such as travel and document production expenses. Small stipends will be considered as part of the overall award.

If the proposed project addresses an issue that has already been in the news, the applicant must acknowledge the work previously done, and explain how the project would break new ground.

Application Process

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The Fund for Investigative Journalism accepts online applications, using the form to the right. If this presents a hardship, please contact us by mail, phone, or email to request an exception.

Eligibility & Criteria

  • The Fund’s Board of Directors meets three to four times each year to consider grant applications for investigative projects and books.
  • It is Fund policy to pay the first half of approved grants to successful applicants, with the second half of the grant paid on evidence of publication of a finished project in accordance with the original proposal. Second half grants are not guaranteed if projects are not completed in a timely fashion or if the projects are published in a different form or in a different outlet than originally proposed.
  • All entries must be written in English.
  • The Fund is not currently accepting applications for overseas projects. The Fund encourages proposals that are regional, local, have national implications, and/or are written for ethnic media. The Fund is also putting out a special call for investigations of climate change topics, and separately, for investigations of economic inequities. Environmental and government accountability investigations are also encouraged.

Proposals Requirement

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  • The applicant must write a proposal letter outlining the story, what he or she expects to prove, how this will be done, and the types of sources to be used. Proposals typically run two to three pages and include a paragraph or two summarizing the crux of the story. Include the anticipated completion date in the proposal. Most projects funded by the Fund take a few months to one year to complete. If more time is needed, please explain in the proposal. For books, include the anticipated publication date.
  • The application proposal must be supported by a resume, a detailed budget to justify the size of grant the application is seeking, no more than two writing samples or one sample chapter in the case of a book applicant, and a letter of commitment from a news executive stating that the project will be published or broadcast if completed according to the proposal and in accordance with the outlet’s news standards. The commitment to publish or broadcast should be on letterhead, signed by the news executive, and include contact information.
  • A letter of commitment is required for all applicants at the time of application and is a non-negotiable requirement. In the case of individuals seeking grants for books, a signed copy of a contract with a publisher is required and should be substituted for the commitment letter.

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