Projects investigating the Veterans Administration, immigration from South Asia to the U.S. and the first prosecution of a national security leaker during the Trump administration have been awarded IRE Freelance Fellowships. The winners of the 2018 competition are:

  • Art Levine, first place, is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. whose work has appeared in Newsweek and Washington Monthly. His project will detail how over $15 billion in fraud and waste in outsourcing of sometimes shoddy privatized health care and services for veterans is taking place at the Veteran Administration.
  • Molly O’Toole, second place, is a Bulgaria-based freelance journalist who previously worked for Foreign Policy magazine and whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post and The Intercept. Her project will investigate how thousands of South Asian migrants are using an under-covered but increasingly popular route to America, as well as the route’s security implications. 
  • Taylor Barnes, third place, is a freelance reporter based in Atlanta whose work has appeared in New York Times, USA Today and The Intercept. Her project will uncover how a small-town Texas woman became fluent in four eastern languages – places she never visited – and now stands accused of being a flight risk to the Middle East as she awaits trial as the first national security leak prosecution of the Trump administration.

The generosity of an anonymous donor has allowed IRE to award fellowships for the last 11 years. The fellowships give independent journalists a financial boost to pursue investigative work.

Visit our online library of Freelance Fellowship winners to see some of the work they’ve produced.

If you’d like to donate to the Freelance Fellowship fund, click here to make a secure credit card donation. Please designate “Freelance Fellowship” in the form.

 

About the award:

IRE Freelance Fellowships are for journalists who make their living primarily as freelance/independent journalists. Applications are scrutinized by three experienced freelance journalists. Proposals are judged in part on the breadth, significance and potential impact of the investigative project. At the request of the donor, proposals dealing with whistleblowers, business ethics and/or privacy issues will receive priority; projects involving other topics will be given serious consideration by the committee as well. The freelance projects must be published or aired primarily in U.S. outlets.