News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Investigative Journalism

March 16, 2010

Hunger in the Golden State: New multimedia investigative series

Thoughout California and across the US, hunger is rising at an unprecedented rate, even in affluent areas. Beginning March 19, a special multimedia series from the USC Annenberg School for Journalism & Communication and California Watch (a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting) will spotlight this often invisible problem.

Hunger in the Golden State” will explore food waste, nutrition in schools, and ways to help Californians fighting to ward off hunger. The project reveals that nearly one in eight Californians has asked for food assistance in the last year.

The three-week series will run in CA newspapers, on radio stations, and in online news outlets.

...Coincidentally, last May a USC Annenberg student video series, “Staving Off Hunger,” focused on this same topic.

March 31, 2010

USC Annenberg: Two investigative reporting fellowships, grants for projects

Spend July 11-16 at USC Annenberg School of Journalism exploring the intersection between community health, health policy and the nation’s growing ethnic diversity—as well as the role that factors such as race, ethnicity, pollution, violence, and transportation, land-use and food policy play in prospects for good health. Return home with new story ideas, sources, and a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of good health journalism. Plus, you’ll have funds to pursue a substantive health-related reporting project…

Fellowships are open to print, broadcast, and online journalists from around the country.


  • National Health Journalism Fellowships: Deadline, May 12. Fellows receive meals, travel, and lodging plus a $2,000 stipend upon publication or broadcast of a major fellowship project.
  • Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism: Deadine, May 5. Grantees attend the National Fellowship seminars and receive reporting grants of $2,500 to $10,000 instead of the $2,000 stipend. Hunt fund grants support projects examining the effects of a specific factor or confluence of factors on a community’s health (such as poverty, health disparities, pollution, violence, land use, urban development, access to health care, and access to healthy food).

Decide which option is right for you.

Applicants must join, an online community for health journalism and the official Web site for the Fellowships. To encourage collaboration between mainstream and ethnic media, preference will be given to applicants who propose a joint project for use by both media outlets.

May 26, 2010

Investigative Journos: What government data do you want? FCC wants to help

Investigative journalists: What government datasets would you really like to have? Someone from the government is here to help.

Dr. Irene Wu, a researcher at the Federal Communications Commission, is seeking feedback from journalists that would help with the agency’s Future of the Media project. (KDMC covered this project in January.)

Here’s how you can participate…

Wu is compiling a list of datasets that investigative reporters would like to have. This would be ideally be data that is supposed to be public, but in practice is difficult to get in searchable electronic format.

Wu wants to understand not just which types of government data are in demand but what kinds of problems reporters are encountering in trying to obtain data. FCC cannot compel the release of data, but the agency could make recommendation on how to improve the situation.

To submit your government data wish list and complaint list, e-mail Irene Wu.

June 08, 2010

AJR research: Which news orgs have reporters on agency beats?

The current issue of American Journalism Review includes an article by Jodie Enda which contends: “Watchdog reporting is at an alarming low at many federal agencies and departments whose actions have a huge impact on the lives of American citizens.”

AJR has some data to back this up…

The story, Capital Flight, features an interactive chart and table showing which key federal agencies are currently covered by full-time beat reporters at mainstream news orgs.

AJR’s data shows that in 2003, 23 news organizations had staff reporters based in Washington, DC who are assigned at least two-thirds time to cover the Dept. of Defense. By 2010, that number shrank to 10. Similarly, in 2003 10 news organizations had DC-based staffers covering the State Dept. at least two-thirds time; by 2010, only nine did.

However, in 2010 four federal agencies that previously had not been the main beat for any DC-based reporter (the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Consumer Products Safety Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) had been assigned beat reporters.

July 12, 2010

Investigate West, InvestigateNY: Nonprofit News from KDMC Alums

An intensive examination into the risks of chemotherapy drugs for health workers is the most extensive output so far for a nonprofit journalism outfit that hopes to be a future model for regional investigative reporting.

InvestigateWest, the nonprofit formed a year ago by ex-Seattle Post-Intelligencer  editors and reporters - including Rita Hibbard, an alum of a 2009 Knight Digital Media Center News Entrepreneurship Bootcamp - launched this first major investigation July 9 with project partner public TV station KCTS in Seattle, and later published it on MSNBC, the Seattle Times and other regional print partners.

The nonprofit has previously conducted smaller investigations into family homelessness, and public health and the urban environment. The latest project, said Hibbard, in a press statement, “demonstrates how effectively the work of independent, nonprofit media can link the eyes and ears of many audiences with important, public service journalism.” Similar regional nonprofit investigative projects include the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and Wisconsin Watch.

Other KDMC news entrepreneurship fellows have been hard at work on similar projects as well. Another upcoming effort conceived at KDMC by an alum of the 2010 News Entrepreneurship Bootcamp is the soon-to-be-launched InvestigateNY, to be helmed by Polly Kreisman, an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalism in New York, who’s currently running theLoop, a hyperlocal news site in Westchester, N.Y. The InvestigateNY site says it hopes to partner with television, radio, print and digital media, which will receive exclusive access to its reports in exchange for in-kind contributions of services, such as personnel and equipment, or a financial commitment.

August 04, 2010

Investigate West’s first year: Progress and evolution

It’s been a little over a year since the nonprofit news startup Investigate West launched, and in that time it’s made significant progress—as well as some significant changes .

Here are some of this venture’s highlights so far…

I-West’s executive editor and co-founder Rita Hibbard is an alum of [email protected]’s first news entrepreneurship bootcamp in 2009, and this year she’s a fellow with [email protected]’s Leadership Institute. (Both of these programs are funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.) On YouTube, she offered her vision and advice for launching a nonprofit news site.

According to Columbia Journalism Review, I-West’s core staff worked for “sweat equity” from July 2009 until June 2010, when they began paying themselves.

When the site launched, blogging was a key vehicle for its content. But over the past year, the staff is blogging less and focusing more on big features.

So far I-West has published three major investigative features, with paid distribution through regional and national news organizations (print and broadcast).

I-West’s annual budget is about $225,000 (80% from foundations, 20% from paid content and individual donors). CJR noted that this is “a far cry from the $1.35 million budget the team projected when it launched a year ago. Hibbard explained that that forecast was based the expectation of hiring a larger staff, which no longer seems practical.”

Aside from producing traditional journalistic stories, I-West staff is writing at least one white paper, paid for by a Russell Family Foundation grant. Is this a conflict of interest? I-West cofounder Robert McClure told CJR: “We’re providing [the foundation] with information that will back up a reporting project we want to do (storm water in Puget Sound). So why not go ahead and do it? It’s their information once we give it to them, but we learned something. You can’t unring a bell.”

McClure clarified that I-West intends to undertake only paid private research projects that support I-West’s journalistic plans.

In year two, I-West intends to produce 6-8 major investigative features—and perhaps hire one more full-time staff reporter.

August 12, 2010

Fund Seeks Grant Proposals for Local and Ethnic Media Investigative Reporting

If you’re a reporter investigating issues in your state or local community, or are working on investigative stories for ethnic media, you could be eligible for a boost from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

The Fund is currently seeking grant proposals and is keen to support precisely those kinds of projects, thanks to a new $100,000 grant from Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Grants range from $500 to $10,000, and the organization can also provide guidance on reporting and advice on placement, as well as mentoring with veteran journalists through a partnership with Investigative Reporters and Editors.

The Fund has a Sept. 8 deadline for its next round of grant proposals. It’s accepting applications through its website at

Learn more and apply now
Application deadline: Sept. 8



September 25, 2010

Funding for Florida watchdog journalism: Apply by Sept. 30

Florida investigative journalists: Thursday, Sept. 30 is the last day to apply for up to $2500 in funding from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting for your Florida-focused watchdog reporting project…

The FCIR Watchdog Fund is particularly interested in funding projects dealing with government corruption, waste, and inefficiency; immigration; education; and social justice.

To apply: E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) a proposal outlining your project (two pages max), your resume, three clips, and estimated completion date.

September 27, 2010

Does prominent play for News21 on Wash. Post, suggest new investigative model?

Could a journalism collaboration led by student journalists—and which scored an A-1 story in the Sept. 26 Washington Post—be a future model for big-scale investigative projects?

That’s certainly the hope of participants in the News21 initiative, which this summer put together an extensive examination into the country’s transportation system that unearthed serious failings by regulators and industry, and a string of fatigue-related and other preventable accidents.

News21, working with the Washington, DC-based Center for Public Integrity, produced an extensive package of some two dozen stories, plus videos, photos and interactive graphics. Parts of the investigation were published simultaneously by the Post and by, as well as in full on News21’s own web site.

While it’s not the first mainstream pickup for News21, it’s certainly the most prominent in the five-year history of its university-based newsroom “incubator” program, which each summer has been producing wide-ranging reports on the nation’s changing demographics, politics and other subjects. The project is funded by the Carnegie Corporation and the John S. and John L. Knight Foundation, and all News21 content is freely available for distribution on news outlets.

This summer was also the first fruit of a new approach that brought journalism fellows from among the dozen participating schools together in a single newsroom at Arizona State’s Cronkite School in Phoenix to conduct their reporting. The 11 young journalists analyzed thousands of documents, and traveled across the United States and to Canada and Mexico to interview hundreds of government officials, industry leaders, safety experts and accident victims.

The student journalists worked under the watchful eye of prominent news veterans such as one-time Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Doig, ASU Journalism Dean Christopher Callahan and former Arizona Republic AME Kristin Gilger.

“News21 shows that journalism schools have a role in the future of news - that they need not be the caboose of America’s news train but instead can be an engine of change,” said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation’s journalism program.

“This distribution of university-produced content by two of the world’s major news organizations is unprecedented,” added Gilger. “This project shows what a group of smart student reporters can do when given time, resources and guidance.”

[Full Disclosure: Glenn has been an editor for the News21 project since 2006, working out of its newsroom at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.]

October 05, 2010

Investigative reporting training for placebloggers: fellowships available

Investigative journalism training isn’t just for professional journalists. That’s why on Oct. 16, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting is offering a daylong training seminar: Watchdog Reporting for Bloggers, Citizen Journalists, and Activists.

Lisa Williams, founder of Placeblogger (the leading aggregator of blogs that cover the lived experience of a place such as a neighborhood, city, state, or other region) announced today that the Placeblogger Angel Fund is offering five scholarships to cover the $200 cost for the NECIR training session…

Scholarships are for registration only. Winners must cover their own travel and other expenses. This event will be held Saturday Oct. 16, 9am-5pm, at the Boston University College of Communication.

To apply for a scholarship: e-mail Lisa Williams.

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