If you cannot find the answer to your question below, email application@projectword.org. Thank you for checking below first.

What’s the difference between an Editorial Consultancy and Virtual Newsroom?

An Editorial Consultancy provides up to one hour of complimentary advice, orientation, and referrals for freelance independent reporters, on a one-time basis. The Virtual Newsroom provides a stipend and a range of reporting services. For more, visit FIRE Guidelines or Services.

Can I apply for every category of Virtual Newsroom services?

Yes, but it’s important to prioritize the resources you need to complete your project. You will have an opportunity to select the most important FIRE services for your project, and if they change, you may inform us at a later date.

If I apply for ONLY the stipend and accompanying Virtual Newsroom but am not selected, will I be eligible to receive Editorial Consultancy services?

If you apply only to the Newsroom but are not selected, you will be considered for the Editorial Consultancy services. However, applicants who apply only to the Editorial Consultancy will have priority for those services.

Can I apply for both the Virtual Newsroom and an Editorial Consultancy?

You cannot. Each has its own application. You must choose which one is for you. See Guidelines to determine the best fit.

If I am awarded the Virtual Newsroom, do I automatically get a stipend?

No. The Virtual Newsroom provides a range of reporting services, but FIRE currently does not have the resources to award every Virtual Newsroom recipient a stipend. Some may get Virtual Newsroom services without the stipend.

How many stipends do you give out, and how big?

Of the 10 reporters selected for the Virtual Newsroom, 5 will receive stipends of $2,500 to $10,000 to cover time only, not expenses.

What if just I want the stipend from the Virtual Newsroom, but none of the accompanying services?

The application will give you a list of the services FIRE offers and ask you to choose the most relevant or important ones for you. If you don’t need any, you will have a chance to mark accordingly.

It says that an Editorial Consultancy provides up to an hour of complimentary help, on a one-time basis. What if I need to follow up?

Due to limited resources, we can only commit to one hour of staff time for each Editorial Consultancy recipient. We may be able to make referrals for additional assistance.

The application said I must show proof of IRE membership before I am eligible to receive services. At what point do I need to show that proof?

You will be asked to show proof of IRE membership only if you are under consideration for selection. We would contact you with the request. Until then no action is required, and your membership status will not be considered in our selection. To join IRE, visit IRE.org.

The guidelines say I won’t be notified until "shortly" after I apply. What if I have a more immediate reporting need?

The application allows you to indicate whether your project has time sensitivity. To be fair to other applicants, we wouldn’t normally commit resources outside our normal selection schedule, but would do our best to refer you for support elsewhere in a timely manner.

What if some portion of the material has already appeared elsewhere?

We support only original reporting. If you have reported material in any form previously, or if anyone else has reported similar material in any form previously, your project would have to substantially advance the material.

If I am affiliated with a news site or center for investigative reporting, do I qualify?

Not if you want to do a story for the outlet your affiliated with. If you plan to produce a piece for a separate outlet with which you’re not affiliated, you may apply. But if you are affiliated with a center or an online news site, your piece would have to run for that other outlet before, or at the same time as, it appears for your site.

Does FIRE provide opportunities for freelance investigative editors or fact-checkers?

It does. FIRE has a small stable of experienced freelance investigative editors and fact-checkers who will work on a contract basis with freelancer reporters on their stories. Interested editors or fact-checkers should contact Project Word, selecting the "Editor/Fact-checker" category from the drop-down menu.

Do you have to be a U.S. resident or U.S. citizen to apply for FIRE?

Reporters (including photojournalists, radio producers, videographers, and filmmakers) may reside and work both domestically and internationally, and need not be citizens of the U.S.

Can I receive support to produce something for an outlet outside the US?

Yes, although only if it is an English-language outlet (we generally give priority to projects serving U.S. outlets).

Do you support book projects?

If you are also planning to turn your reported material into a book, that’s fine. But we support original reporting for release in periodical media only—broadcast, newspaper, web publications, magazine outlets, etc.

Can I produce something in a language other than English?

We can only work in English and serve only English-language outlets. We cannot supply translators, although we welcome referrals for the future.

Does your project provide accreditation credentials for covering news events?

It does not.

If I am applying for Virtual Newsroom services, what attachments do I include?

You would upload a resume, three work samples, and a one-page Story Proposal Form. The form will ask you to provide brief background to clarify your reporting objective; tell us the most important thing you’ve found so far, and/or are looking to find; and sketch the project’s most pressing needs. Where applicable, resume should include any reporting work. Where possible, please include work samples from at least one outlet that does in-house fact-checking.

Can I send resume, clips, and story proposal for the Virtual Newsroom application at different times?

After filling out an online questionnaire, you must submit the documents together via an Uploads Page.

I am planning to apply for the Virtual Newsroom. Do I need to have an assignment letter, or other kind of assignment confirmation, from a publication in order to qualify?

FIRE does not require an assignment confirmation or letter of interest or commitment in the application process. But in order to receive an award, you will need to secure a letter of interest from an outlet.

Is it OK if all my work samples are from the same outlet?

Yes, though it is preferable for us to review work from more than one editor or outlet. Where possible, submit work samples from an outlet with in-house fact-checking.

May I request Virtual Newsroom support for more than one project?

FIRE will consider one story at a time, per person.

Do you support multiple-reporter teams?

We do, but the stipend will awarded to one person; the team is responsible for sharing resources and/or stipend.

When is the next deadline?

The next deadline will be announced on the News page.

When will I know if I am selected?

We try to notify applicants within two months of the deadline.

What if I miss the deadline?

We cannot consider applicants after any deadline date. If you have a time-sensitive story you may send a brief inquiry, explaining the time-sensitivity, to application@projectword.org. We would do our best to respond.

What if I applied last time?

You would proceed as if you are applying for the first time: submit a new questionnaire (from the Guidelines page) and upload documents. 

I have a question about my application that is not answered here. What can I do?

You may contact application@projectword.org, marking “FIRE application question” in the subject line. We will do our best to reply in a timely manner.