FIRE stipend winner Yvette Cabrera reporting on her criminal justice story in southern California.

FIRE, the initiative to aid investigative freelance journalists, has awarded a $5,000 stipend and accompanying use of the FIRE Virtual Newsroom to one additional freelancer from its initial round of applicants—Emily Palmer.

Palmer, working on a national story on child abuse with co-reporter Jessica Huseman, joins a small group that earned the Virtual Newsroom back in April and are currently developing their stories with the FIRE Newsroom tools.

The Virtual Newsroom includes a range of services—from transcribers and contract editors, to LexisNexis research assistance, to general research assistance from the resource center of Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Another 18 reporters are receiving Help Desk Services from Project Word, which translates into an hour of consulting from the executive director on fundraising and story development.

FIRE also has chosen four reporters from the original pool of applicants to receive a combined package—Help Desk services PLUS the Virtual Newsroom: that’s full editorial service without financial support.

With this new service, FIRE can bring the Virtual Newsroom to more reporters than it could otherwise afford to help. We are confident that the results—strengthened stories—will encourage other grant makers to fund expenses for the stories those reporters are working on—and also provide stipends.

FIRE plans to announce our next round of stipend applications, easier and more streamlined, as early as November 15. (If a story is particularly time-sensitive before then, a reporter may check FIRE guidelines before emailing a brief pitch to

Upcoming Events

  • Project Word is partnering in the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium October 6-8 in DC. The festival will feature new work in a cutting-edge medium for investigative reporting, with intensive discussions and workshops for practicing journalists and filmmakers.

  • Media Law Resource Center event, also in DC, on September 20, will directly address legal issues facing all reporters, especially unaffiliated ones. Those issues also emerged in a well-received panel at IRE’s annual conference in New Orleans, moderated by the Project Word director, on the business of freelancing. For more information on the panel, contact