Freelance journalists are in a tight spot: subject to financial pressure, intimidation, and threats, they lack the protections offered by major media outlets. Yet they remain dedicated to investigation, balance, and “the story” – and FIJ backs them up. By covering reporting costs that freelancers often cannot afford, it advances crucial investigative projects around the globe. The four dozen grants awarded annually cover camera and recording equipment rentals, the cost of ordering public records, and travel expenses for meeting sources. FIJ-sponsored writers have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Magazine Awards, and the MacArthur “Genius” award. But the real beneficiaries are readers and citizens: reporters have exposed toxic agricultural products sold in Kenya, companies that sold overpriced seed to impoverished farmers, and human trafficking in the US. With your support, they will continue to write stories. And to break silences.
A new emergency grant program supports investigative journalism related to the pandemic, and several grantees have published stories that have helped shape laws and policies on other issues like sexual assault, energy, and police misconduct. FIJ expanded its editorial mentorship program for grantees (reporting has become more complicated and editors are less available as a source of support). Training sessions are conducted with partner organizations to help investigative journalists – particularly freelancers and those working at local nonprofit media outlets – build skills and capacity in a range of areas, including legal issues, security, career development and more.