This program has allowed IRE to award fellowships that give independent journalists a much-needed boost in the pursuit of their investigative work. For a list of previous fellowship winners, click here.
WORK BY THE WINNERS
“Death of a nursing home” | The Crisis Magazine
By Wallace Roberts
Elaine Carrington moved into the Lemington Home for the Aged in Pittsburgh in November 2004. She died three weeks later of a blood clot in her lungs. An investigation by the state found that the staff had failed to give Carrington any of her 10 prescription drugs for 20 days before her death. The Pennsylvania Department of PublicWelfare (DPW) fined Lemington $8,100 and put the home on a three-month probation. InApril 2005, Lemington filed for bankruptcy and in July of that year, shut its doors for good.
“The fight to preserve a model public housing project” | Chicago Reader
By Maya Dukmasova
Lathrop Homes, on the western edge of Lincoln Park, has long been one of the Chicago Housing Authority’s most diverse and successful properties. But today it’s a shell of its former self.
“Access Denied: The Digital Crisis in Prisons“
By Adam Wisnieski
Prison law libraries are going digital to cut costs. Large text collections, libraries and legal assistants are being replaced by computer kiosks with custom-tailored subscriptions to LexisNexis or Westlaw. Currently, 45 state prison systems and the federal Bureau of Prisons contract with an electronic legal database company, up from nine states a decade ago, according to an investigation by The Crime Report.
“House of Cards” | New York Post
By Catherine Curan
In a staggering 92 percent of the claims brought by creditors asserting the right to foreclose against bankrupt families in New York City and the close-in suburbs, banks and mortgage servicers couldn’t prove they had the right to kick the families out on the street, a three-month probe by The Post has shown.
Catherine Curan: “Looking back on it now, I can see that in many ways the IRE Fellowship story forms the bedrock of my expertise in how to cover suspicious residential foreclosures, a beat I’ve been immersed in ever since. The Fellowship and in-depth report allowed me to establish in-depth knowledge of the complexities of residential foreclosures, a source base and credibility. That, in turn, has lead to many other stories including, most recently, my national scoop on a court case involving Wells Fargo’s controversial Foreclosure Attorney Procedures Manual.”
By Erin Siegal
“Finding Fernanda” is the story of $30,000 U.S. dollars, four Guatemalan “orphans,” one nonprofit evangelical Christian adoption agency, a family-run child-trafficking ring, one infant cut from her unconscious mother’s womb, two tiny missing sisters, and a nine-member Tennessee family who believed wholeheartedly in Christian love and faith—until the dark side of international adoption shattered their blind trust.
With help from documents obtained via FOIA requests, leaked emails, and key sources inside both the Guatemalan and U.S.
governments, the book traces one compelling case of corruption in detail from start to finish.
“Ghosts of the Rio Grande” | The American Prospect
By Brendan Borrell
The path across the border is littered with bodies. Bodies old and bodies young. Bodies known and bodies unknown. Bodies hidden, bodies buried, bodies lost, and bodies found. The stories of the dead haunt the frontier towns from Nuevo Laredo to Nogales, and even deep within the interior of Mexico down to Honduras, someone always knows someone who has vanished—one of los desaparecidos—during their journey north.
Anna Cavell is a freelance journalist based in the United Kingdom whose work has appeared on the BBC and Al Jazeera English. Her documentary will focus on how U.S. companies are profiting from poor countries as part of the war on terrorism.
Amanda Sakuma is a New York-based freelance journalist who previously worked for NBC News, MSNBC.com and the Houston Chronicle. Her stories will investigate partnerships between local law enforcement and the federal government on immigration and other issues.
Luis Chaparro is a freelance reporter based in Texas whose work has appeared in Vice News, Letras Libres magazine, Fusion magazine and El Daily Post. His project will investigate a U.S. factory in a border town in Mexico to explore larger issues connected to American businesses and their operations in Mexico.
ABOUT THE AWARD
These fellowships are for journalists who make their living primarily as independent journalists.
Applications are scrutinized by three experienced freelance journalists; they are ineligible for the award while serving on the committee.
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 US outlets.
Every donation made to support our Freelance Fellowship program will be matched up to a total of $15,000, thanks to a generous donation from the donor who established the fund.
Click here to make a secure credit card donation. Please put “Freelance Fellowship” in the line about donating to a specific fund.