InquireFirst correspondent Elizabeth Douglass is the recipient of a McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism which will help fund her reporting on an in-depth examination of the nation's deteriorating water infrastructure. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez.
InquireFirst correspondent Elizabeth Douglass is the recipient of a McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism which will help fund her reporting on an in-depth examination of the nation's deteriorating water infrastructure. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez

InquireFirst Journalist Wins Prestigious Fellowship

NEW YORK -- InquireFirst correspondent Elizabeth Douglass is among four veteran journalists who have won grants of up to $15,000 as recipients of McGraw Fellowships for Business Journalism.

Nearly 80 journalists working in more than a half-dozen countries applied for the fellowships. The winners were chosen following interviews and a thorough review of detailed proposals, work samples and references.

Douglass will use the grant to help fund her reporting on InquireFirst’s inaugural project, an in-depth examination of the nation’s deteriorating water infrastructure and water quality protections, with an emphasis on issues beyond those highlighted by the Flint, Mich., water disaster.
Her first stories will be released in the fall.

A previous finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award, Douglass’ stories have led to appearances on The Rachel Maddow Show, Public Radio International and Chicago public radio, as well as in a PBS documentary about turmoil in the defense industry. She is a former staff writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimateNews. Read more

Harold W. Fuson, left, an attorney and First Amendment expert who serves on the InquireFirst board of directors, spoke on July 27 in San Diego about the importance of investigative journalism. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez

Investigative Journalism Is Needed Now More Than Ever

SAN DIEGO -- In an era when the insatiable demand for news reduces information to sound bites and 140-character messages, InquireFirst is digging into issues of national importance and staying with them until they are identified and exposed.

“InquireFirst will know how to use both shoe leather and legal briefs to get the facts citizens need,” said Harold W. Fuson, an attorney and First Amendment expert who serves on the InquireFirst board of directors. Fuson spoke to about 60 people gathered in San Diego for an InquireFirst fundraiser held on July 27 and hosted by KPBS Roundtable anchor Mark Sauer. Read more

Reflections on Investigative Journalism

InquireFirst’s first investigative project will debut in this space in the fall of 2016. While you wait, please enjoy these selections from our contributing journalists, advisory council and board of directors. If you have something to share, feel free to join the conversation by sending links and comments to:
robert.laurence@inquirefirst.org

1PicturePhotograph by Ryan McGuire

Facts Plus Heart

Usually we think of investigative journalism as reporting that exposes wrongdoing, maybe even puts someone in jail. But deep reporting—combined with deep thinking—sometimes leads to stories outside that box. A recent New York Times story about a Syrian refugee who is traveling throughout Germany, trying to put a human face on his fellow refugees by playing a donated piano, falls into that category. Yes, this is the tale of one man. But by also investigating the wide-ranging ramifications of Aeham Ahmad’s story, the Times’ Beirut bureau chief, Anne Barnard, illuminates the world’s growing refugee crisis, one most of us might prefer to ignore. – Susan White, Executive Editor, InquireFirst

John Oliver, Investigative Comic

Want to know what’s gone wrong with American journalism? John Oliver explains it all for you in his “Last Week Tonight” show on HBO. —Robert P. Laurence, InquireFirst.

Expanding the Box

A big part of investigative reporting is figuring out how the topics we’re examining fit into the broader world. This New York Times column by Farhad Majoo is must reading for everyone who believes, as I do, that offering readers this type of perspective is one of our greatest responsibilities. —Susan White, executive editor, InquireFirst

Puerto Rico Finances

According to the news from Washington, Puerto Rico is going broke. Some of its financial woes may be self-inflicted, reports the Spanish language Centro de Periodismo Investigativo. Over the last 10 years or so, the island territory has lavished $519 million on seed providers, including Monsanto.—S. Lynne Walker, executive director, InquireFirst

Read More Reflections on Investigative Journalism

Lynne FriedmannLynne Friedmann named 2016-17 Beckman Fellow

PHILADELPHIA - Lynne T. Friedmann, a San Diego-based freelance science journalist who serves on InquireFirst’s Advisory Council, has been named a 2016-17 Beckman Fellow of the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF), in Philadelphia. This fall she will spend three months conducting research in the CHF archives and libraries of the University of Pennsylvania as well as engaging with scholars at science institutes in the area. Friedmann is currently writing a book on the history and science of ink.

Financial support for Friedmann’s award comes from a Société de Chimie Industrielle fellowshipdesigned to support writers, journalists, educators, and historians of science, technology, or business with multimedia, popular books, and internet-based projects that foster dialogue on science and technology in society.

Trained as a journalist and biologist, Friedmann has spent her entire career in science communications as a university public information officer, staff writer, consultant to scientific professional societies, and freelance writer. Since 2000, she has been editor of ScienceWriters magazine, published by the National Association of Science Writers.

Among honors received, Friedmann is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Association for Women in Science for her “leadership and significant contributions to the public communication of science and technology.”

Founded in 1982, the Chemical Heritage Foundation maintains extensive and varied collections of oral histories, modern and rare books, archival materials, art, and artifacts to examine the roles science Read more

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