FIRE reporters chosen for annual stipend

Freelance investigative reporter Emily Palmer, left, first applied to FIRE in 2016. When her story wasn’t awarded, she proposed another one, a collaboration with ProPublica colleague Jessica Huseman, right. It received FIRE’s full support, helping the pair win coveted Spotlight fellowships this July. 

We are happy to announce a breakthrough for a pair of enterprising FIRE reporters working on an in-depth national investigation.

Emily Palmer and Jessica Huseman, Virtual Newsroom winners in September, 2016, advanced their story with FIRE's signature services, including open-records experts and trained IRE researchers, along with a custom offering we created for them—data entry.

The work has paid off. Last month Participant Media announced that Palmer and Huseman won the coveted 2017 Spotlight Investigative Journalism Fellowship, funded by the film's proceeds.

Their prestigious team at the Boston Globe, of movie fame, in collaboration with ProPublica, has welcomed FIRE’s continued service to the reporters. Everyone looks forward to the results.

Also last month, FIRE awarded a new round of Editorial Consultancies and Virtual Newsroom services, including stipends, to more than 30 reporters—look for details in September.

Lastly, a personal update—in late June the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting released my own multi-year freelance investigation of repeated labor allegations against Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer over their use of migrant labor to produce lucrative GMO seed corn.

I sign off in even deeper appreciation for unaffiliated investigative journalists—who serve the public interest so ably with such fierce devotion, against all odds.  FIRE is dedicated to helping them.

Laird Townsend,

FIRE director

PS  A big thank you to the funders of my own story—the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the Midwest Center, and the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute. Also, to all FIRE supporters—on behalf of Palmer, Huseman, and many other FIRE reporters like them. You share credit for their important successes.