Funding for freelance investigations: Whom to ask and how to ask (Sponsored by The Fund for Investigative Journalism)

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Esther Kaplan of The Investigative Fund; Jane Sasseen of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism; Laird Townsend of Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE); Brant Houston of University of Illinois
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 23 at 3:45pm
  • Location: Grand Canyon 1-3
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

**Moderated by Brant Houston, University of Illinois

Nonprofits who work with freelance reporters will provide advice on how to successfully get support for your investigation, both in general and from their programs. They will also go over what is expected during the reporting, writing and editing process. In addition, there will be an extensive Q&A session and an overview of the various programs that can support freelancers and nonprofit centers.

Speaker Bios

  • Brant Houston is the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois. Before Illinois he was executive director of IRE for more than a decade after 17 years as an award-winning investigative reporter in U.S. newsrooms. He is author of  "Data for Journalists: A Practical Guide to Computer-Assisted Reporting" and co-author of "The Investigative Reporter's Handbook." He works with nonprofit newsrooms and co-founded INN and GIJN. 

  • Esther Kaplan is editor in chief of Type Investigations, formerly The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, where she has overseen investigations that have garnered the IRE Medal, the Polk Award, the Emmy Award, the Peabody Award, the Hillman Prize, and other honors. @typeinvestigate

  • Jane Sasseen is executive director of the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Previously, she was a senior editor and Washington bureau chief for BusinessWeek, editor-in-chief of politics for Yahoo News, and the Paris bureau chief of International Management magazine. She is a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award, the top prize for financial journalism in America. @janesasseen

  • Laird Townsend, an award-winning reporter and editor, directs Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE), a project of Investigative Reporters and Editors. Founded as Project Word in 2007, FIRE has helped freelancers produce public-interest investigations for outlets across all platforms, from the Dallas Morning News and Mother Jones, to Reveal and the BBC. Townsend’s reporting won the 2018 Peter Lisagor Award for online investigative/public service reporting.

Related Tipsheets

  • The Investigative Fund
    The Investigative Fund seeks out reporting on important stories with the potential for social impact. They like to see reporting plans that are ambitious but realistic, with the potential to expose institutional failures or abuses. If you already have important sources or documents in hand, that will strengthen your proposal. If your previous work indicates you’d have the capacity and knowledge base to tackle the story, that helps too.