Accepting Applications for 2018: FIJ & Schuster Institute Initiative to Increase Diversity in Social Justice Investigative Reporting
Fund for Investigative Journalism, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University

The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University are accepting applications for a project designed to broaden opportunities for diverse journalists in independent investigative reporting. The initiative invites applications from two communities: journalists of color and women journalists.

Pioneered with support from the Ford Foundation, this is the second consecutive year that grants and matching fellowships will be offered to help journalists of diverse backgrounds — widely recognized as underrepresented in the ranks of U.S. independent investigative reporters — to report and write important stories about unreported or underreported social justice issues.

Four independent, U.S.-based reporters with strong proposals to investigate significant systemic or social justice issues will be selected.  One of those will be chosen as a “Rising Star” who will also receive funding for mentorship support.

The selected journalists will receive competitively awarded grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, which will provide up to $10,000 to pay the expenses of reporting a specific investigative story, covering costs such as travel, document fees, equipment rentals, and small stipends.

Recipients will also be awarded Schuster Institute fellowships, which will give them an academic appointment and institutional home, access to paid research assistance, the extensive offerings of Brandeis University’s library and technology services, mentoring, editorial guidance, and opportunities for pro bono, media-related legal advice from a major New York firm. The Schuster Institute will help publicize the fellows’ work through press releases, social media and the Institute’s websites. As a fellow, they will join the Institute’s innovative “Newsroom Without Walls,” a growing community of Schuster Institute fellows and research scholars who regularly share ideas, advice and support. The fellowships do not require residency at Brandeis University and the fellows are not paid.

The work must be completed within one year.

“The Fund is proud to partner with the Schuster Institute on these diversity fellowships. We are on the leading edge of a growing effort to address a terrible imbalance in our business,” said FIJ president Ricardo Sandoval Palos. “This valuable experience, with the resources and mentorship provided by the Schuster Institute and Brandeis University, creates an important new opportunity for a long-neglected community of investigative journalists. Over the course of a year, they’ll be weaving important stories with great potential for social impact and change.”

Florence Graves, founding director of the Schuster Institute, agrees.  “Collaborating with our colleagues at FIJ and with the new fellows selected in the first round of this diversity initiative has been a rewarding experience for all of us at the Institute. If this year’s applications and story proposals are anything like last year’s, we’ll have trouble narrowing it down to just four worthy candidates. Moreover, the funding provided by the Ford Foundation for this project can make the difference for  freelance journalists struggling to find a way to shine a light on significant social justice problems so that the public and policymakers can be more fully informed and take action.”

Eligibility requirements 

Applications from women and journalists of color working in any type of media — print, audio, video, online — will be considered.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens but can be reporting from abroad.

Application deadline

Applications may be submitted online through Nov. 1, 2017, and we will announce grantees and fellows in January 2018.

How to apply
•          Apply online at
•          If after reading about the entry process you still have questions, please email

In the meantime, please check the FIJ and Schuster Institute Facebook pages, and #FIJSchuster on Twitter for updates.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ). Since 1969, FIJ has supported the work of independent journalists who have tips, sources, and ideas, but lack the resources needed to do their investigations. The late Philip M. Stern founded FIJ to invest in the work of determined journalists in the fight against racism, poverty, corporate greed, and governmental corruption. FIJ-supported projects have won a wide array of journalistic honors, including Pulitzer Prizes, the George Polk Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award, and many others.  Please see for more information.

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University is a collaborative, investigative newsroom focusing on social justice and human rights issues as well as government accountability and transparency. We dive into systemic problems afflicting those who are poor, voiceless, or forgotten—with an eye toward informing policymakers and public debate. Launched in 2004 by Florence Graves to help fill the void in high-quality public interest and investigative journalism, the Institute was the nation’s first independent, investigative reporting center based at a university. The Institute’s pioneering “Newsroom Without Walls,” a collaborative impact journalism newsroom, includes more than 70 contributors, including staff, Schuster Institute Fellows, Visiting Research Scholars and paid Brandeis student researchers. They report on  such subjects as human trafficking and modern-day slavery; criminal justice; race and justice; food and health; government and corporate wrongdoing; environmental justice; gender and justice; political and social justice; and border issues and immigration. Please see for more information.

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