Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE), a collaboration of Project Word and Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), is pleased to announce the selection of six reporters to receive the first ever FIRE Virtual Newsroom services—stipends and accompanying tools to facilitate freelance investigative work.
The selected reporters and their proposal topics include:
- Yvette Cabrera, a Southern California-based freelancer, on criminal justice and law enforcement
- Jonathan Richard Jones, a San Francisco-based freelancer, on US interests in the South Pacific
- Raven Rakia, a New York City-based freelancer
- A freelancer based in the southwest US, on criminal justice
- A Texas-based freelancer, on US-Mexico border relations
- An East Africa-based freelancer, on a military conflict in Africa
The FIRE Selection Committee, composed of five award-winning print and broadcast journalists, chose the reporters from 100 applications covering a wide range of public-interest topics—from municipal criminal justice to US foreign policy.
The awardees will receive the stipends of up to $5,000 along with the full benefit of FIRE’s Virtual Newsroom services—custom reporting services, including research assistance via IRE, a fiscal sponsor of Project Word. More than 20 other applicants are to receive Help Desk services, which will include consultation and referrals to advance their proposals.
The Virtual Newsroom and Help Desk services, the core of this pilot project of FIRE, were crafted to address the challenges and solutions identified in Project Word's 2015 survey of freelance investigative reporters. The pilot offers a model to strengthen this valuable sector of public-interest reporting.
The next call for FIRE proposals is scheduled to take place in June, 2016. For details, please see the Project Word News page in mid-May.
In the meantime, reporters are encouraged to check the following additional opportunities for independent reporters, with deadlines in the next few weeks:
The Fund for Investigative Journalism
The Fund is currently accepting applications from journalists breaking new ground and exposing wrongdoing in the public and private sectors. Grants are meant to cover out-of-pocket expenses and average $5,000. The next deadline in May 16, 2016; detailed application instructions can be found on the FIJ website.
McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism
The fellowship offers editorial support and awards of $5,000 for one to three months to a story involving business or the economy. The opportunity is open to anyone with at least five years of professional journalism experience. The spring application deadline is May 31, 2016; please visit McGraw Center to apply.
For more information, check Project Word's Resources page for a list of professional and funding organizations supporting journalists. If you know of any opportunities not included on this list, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.