Reporting the Border: Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a freelancer. Can I apply? 
Both freelancers and individuals working for established media outlets are welcome to apply.   

I’m not an investigative reporter. Can I apply? 
ICFJ and BCJB will prioritize applicants with some experience working on investigative reporting, however, the program is open to all working journalists.  

Do I need to speak Spanish? 
No. Though we prefer candidates who are bilingual, all events will include English-Spanish interpretation if necessary. 

I’m not familiar with the U.S.- Mexico border, but I’d like to learn more. Can I apply? 
All journalists with interest in covering topics related to the U.S.-Mexico border are invited to apply. Both the orientation and the "Investigathon" are aimed at strengthening U.S. reporters’ understanding of the context.  

I can’t participate in all activities in the project, but I’m still interested. Is there an option for me?  
Please apply. On the application, there is a box to indicate that you won’t be able to participate in all sessions but remain interested. ICFJ and BCJB can contact you in the case that someone becomes unavailable. 

Should I have a topic in mind for my investigative report? 
It helps but isn’t necessary. Both the orientation and the "Investigathon" are aimed at helping journalists define and refine their proposals. 

I work primarily on video. Can I apply? 
All working journalists are welcome to apply, regardless of their focus.  

My media outlet is nowhere near the border. Can I apply?
Yes. We will accept applicants from any U.S. state. We are looking for candidates from a variety of backgrounds and experience.  

How much funding is available for my investigation? And how does it work? 
There are two types of funding available. The first is small reporting grants. The amounts will depend on a submitted budget, and only cover expenses associated with the production of investigative reports (i.e. travel expenses, fixers/interpreters, access to public documents, etc.). The second are investigative reporting fellowships, which will cover both a stipend and reporting expenses. There are fewer fellowships available, and fellowships will likely be granted to more experienced investigative reporters with a proven track record. The provision of either a small reporting grant or fellowship will be at the discretion of ICFJ and BCJB.  

How are investigative proposals reviewed and selected?  
ICFJ and BCJB review the following: 1) the journalist’s background and previous experience; 2) the viability of the investigative report being produced over a 3-6 month period of time; 3) collaborative elements (ICFJ and BCJB can help foster working relationships with Mexican journalists and media if the U.S. journalist has this in mind). The selection committee consists of ICFJ and BCJB staff and will likely include a hired editor as well.