Investigative Reporting Initiative in the Americas

The Investigative Reporting Initiative in the Americas (IRIA) supports investigative journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean to report on vital issues of crime and corruption that endanger citizens and waste public funds. 

The program aims to:

  • Promote transparency, combat corruption, and expose mismanagement of public funds
  • Cope with physical and digital attacks that threaten journalists’ ability to inform people
  • Build networks through joint reporting on cross-border topics

Since 2013, ICFJ has helped its partner network grow into a global leader in investigative reporting. Through their hard-hitting reporting, this corps of journalists has brought about policy changes, resignations of high-level officials, and a reinvigorated discourse around unreported issues. Their reports have tackled topics such as sexual assault on university campuses in Colombia, money laundering between South America and the United States, and the mismanagement of public funds for hospitals in Mexico.  

ICFJ partners with Connectas, an investigative journalism organization based in Bogotá, Colombia. During this grant, ICFJ and Connectas have created the Connectas Hub, a network of Latin American journalists in 17 countries; the Hub has grown to nearly 200 journalists from almost 100 media outlets. Some noteworthy projects include: 

  • The investigation of the White House of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, which revealed that the first family’s $7 million mansion is owned by the same Chinese company that had been awarded a multibillion-dollar high speed rail contract. After Aristegui Noticias published the investigation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and others picked up the story. The government revoked the company’s contract, and the presidential family sold the contested mansion and publicly declared all its assets. 
  • Findings from a series on the danger to transgender migrants in Central America were re-published or cited 13 times across seven countries, including by El Espectador in Colombia and El Nuevo Herald in the United States, with 13,886 and 6,003 views, respectively. 
  • A seven-part series about the smuggling of food, fuel and other materials from Venezuela to Colombia explored links between Colombian guerrillas and the Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela. The project received support on Twitter from former President of Colombia Álvaro Uribe, former Colombian Ambassador to the United States Juan Carlos Pinzón, and a chief negotiator in the Colombian peace processes, Juan Camilo Restrepo
     
About the Program

Among other activities, participating journalists are able to:

  • Use ICFJ’s unique secure collaborative reporting platform and searchable databases in Spanish to bolster their investigative projects
  • Participate in local and trans-American workshops and conferences with renowned data experts, investigative journalists and multimedia specialists. These events help them develop in-depth investigative journalism projects, digital and physical security protocols, and compelling multimedia elements.
  • Apply for seed funding for investigative journalism projects
  • Receive one-on-one support, guidance, and editing from top mentors and editors
  • Learn the ABCs of investigative journalism in four-week online courses
     
Who Can Apply

IRIA works in different countries at different times. Among those countries: Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Primary Partner: Connectas