The Fund for Investigative Journalism, FIJ, is inviting applications for its grants to support journalists who do in-depth coverage of issue concerning their localities. Investigations involving government accountability, environmental issues, or local issues with national implications are encouraged.  Watchdog reporting for ethnic media is also encouraged.

All applicants will be notified of decisions about six weeks after the application deadline.

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.

Worth of Grants

The average grant is $5,000. The Fund will pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs or public records document fees. The Fund grants will not cover grantees’ writing fees or salaries, the costs of purchasing equipment, or other capital expenses.

Once approved, grantees will be invited to participate in a mentoring program jointly sponsored by the Fund and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

The Fund is not currently accepting applications for the $25,000 Gene Roberts Book Award.

Application Process

The Fund for Investigative Journalism accepts online applications, using the form above. If this presents a hardship, please contact us by mail, phone, or email to request an exception. Large attachments, 10Mb or greater, may not go through; contact us by email if you need to send a large file.

Supporting Data

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 for the proof. Include the anticipated completion date. Project lengths typically range from a few months to one year. If more time is needed, please explain that in the proposal. For books, include the anticipated publication date.

If the proposed topic of the investigation has been covered previously, explain in the proposal what has already been done, and how the proposed investigation would break new ground or significantly advance the story.

The letter must be supported by a resume, a detailed budget to justify the size of the requested grant, two writing samples or one sample book chapter, and a signed letter of commitment from a news executive for the intended news outlet. The letter of commitment must be presented on the news outlet’s letterhead and state its intent to publish or broadcast the investigative report as proposed, as long as the finished work meets the news organization’s standards.

A letter of commitment is required for all applicants 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.

Deadline: August 15, 2011

Prospective applicants with questions about the grant-making process are encouraged to call or email Sandy Bergo at 202-391-0206 or [email protected].

For more information, and to apply online, visit their website by clicking here.

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