FIJ Calls for Proposals for Investigative Journalism Grant

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Sandy Bergo  Executive Director  Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ)
Sandy Bergo
Executive Director Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ)

The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is calling for project proposals from journalists from around the world for the Investigative Journalism Grant. FIJ offers various grants that have different guidelines.

The application includes, in addition to a letter of commitment, a proposal, resume, work samples and a budget, all written in English. The budgets should be expressed in U.S. dollars.

Applicants must submit, along with their applications a “Letter of Commitment” from a news editor who can pledge in writing that the news outlet will publish or air the specific story an applicant proposes – as long as it meets the publication’s expectations and standards. The letter must be written on letterhead that includes contact information for the news outlet and the individual signing it.

Book authors applying for a grant should submit a signed book contract from a publisher, which will serve as the commitment.

Foreign-based story proposals must come from US-based reporters, have a strong US angle involving American citizens, government or business to be considered for the grant. All stories submitted for entry must be published in English and have a media outlet in the United States.

The Board of Directors which reviews and votes on all eligible proposals looks for stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing – such as corruption, malfeasance, or misuse of power – in the public and private sectors. The Fund also encourages proposals written for ethnic media and submitted by journalists of colour.

FIJ now offers a competitive opportunity to be matched with a mentor. It operates this programme with seed funding from the Scripps Howard Foundation. As part of the application form, applicants are required to explain how a mentor can help them and whether they can commit to keeping their mentor informed of their progress.  FIJ especially encourages applications for writing mentors, even for seasoned reporters.

A maximum grant of $10,000 to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection and equipment rental will be awarded. The Fund also considers requests for small stipends, as part of the budget.

Estimated budget should itemize expenses of reporting such as travel, document fees, equipment rentals, and small stipends. Applicants are encouraged to be specific as vague line items may be denied. They are also encouraged to identify other sources of funding.

Those applying for a book grant, should provide detail as to resources available from the publisher, and explain why he/she needs a grant.

It is Fund policy to pay the first half of approved grants to successful applicants, while the second half of the grant is 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.

FIJ considers applications three to four times a year.  The next application deadline is May 4, 2020at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, or 8:59 pm on the U.S. West Coast.

Questions about the application process and requirements should be sent by email to fundfij@gmail.com.FIJ’s Frequently Asked Questions are available online at http://fij.org/application-faqs/.