Award-winning Investigative Reporting News Organization, "100REPORTERS," Announces Two Milestones: IRS Approval of Its Non-Profit Status and a New Grant

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After launching 18 months ago, the investigative reporting website, 100Reporters, is having major impact. The organization has won several reporting awards and is expanding its reporting staff, thanks to a new grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and approval of its non-profit tax status.

The new Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation grant validates the awards we have won and the impact our stories have had exposing graft and corruption worldwide.

The investigative reporting news organization, 100Reporters (http://www.100R.org), is celebrating two milestones: a new grant and IRS approval of its non-profit status.

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation (EEJF) has awarded 100Reporters $50,000 in general operating support for domestic reporting over the next year. The funds, which will be matched by the Ford Foundation, will allow the young news organization to expand its award-winning, impactful investigations.

Said Co-founder and Executive Editor Diana Jean Schemo, “We are gratified by EEJF’s decision to invest in 100Reporters’ work. The new grant validates the awards we have won and the impact our stories have had exposing graft and corruption worldwide. Over the next year, the additional funds will allow us to sharpen our focus on U.S. government and corporate accountability and corruption.”

Authors and former award-winning New York Times reporters, Schemo and her co-founder, Philip Shenon, launched 100Reporters to fill a void in the current media landscape by reporting primarily on corruption and accountability in politics, business and governments.

In just 18 months, Schemo and her team have won a number of journalism awards for their groundbreaking investigations.

  • The Native American Journalists’ Association (NAJA) gave two awards to 100Reporters. First place for best coverage by a non-Indian went to the story, “Rough Justice in Indian Child Welfare,” which detailed South Dakota’s retaliation against two whistleblowers, a former prosecutor and a social worker, who revealed the sexual abuse of Native American girls by their white adoptive father.    
  • NAJA gave a third place prize to a second 100Reporters’ story, on youth suicide.
  • 100Reporters’ multi-part series, “Chemical Drift: The Second-Hand Smoke of Big Agriculture,” focused on the dangers of aerial spraying of atrazine, a widely-used weed killer, and won a Society of Environmental Journalists award for outstanding in-depth reporting.
  • Following the 100Reporters story, the maker of the chemical, atrazine, Syngenta Crop Protection, agreed to a $105 million out-of-court settlement that ended an eight-year class action lawsuit over atrazine in public drinking water. (Case No.: 3:10-cv-00188-JPG-PMF, Federal District Court for the Southern District of Illinois -- http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/id/fwhe-8ummmv/$File/Atrazine%20Proposed%20Settlement.pdf)

100Reporters’ uses its resources strategically, to advance transparency and public accountability. Its publication of “Mining Copper, Burying Truth” and “Fast Track Past Red Flags” broke a legal logjam that had prevented British media from reporting on suspected corruption at a major mining company operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kazakhstan. In April, the British Serious Fraud Office initiated a criminal investigation of the company, ENRC, for alleged fraud, bribery and corruption.    

Said Schemo, “We have been doing our investigative work on a bootstrap budget, but our results so far show what we can accomplish, especially now that we have won IRS approval of our 501(c ) (3) status.”

The IRS approval came in late June, less than 12 months after the organization applied. The approval represents something of a record turnaround, because typically such applications take two to three years for review and approval.

The IRS approval followed an Op-Ed that Schemo co-authored with the Sunlight Foundation’s Kathy Kiely, that was published in The Washington Post on May 17, 2013. Pegged to IRS scandal involving heightened scrutiny of conservative groups, the essay discussed lengthy IRS delays since 2008 in evaluating the applications of news startups and the ensuing threat to the First Amendment.

Schemo and 100Reporters have reached out to an enormous pool of talent represented by seasoned journalists, many of them cut loose by the downsizing of traditional media, to expose all forms of corruption, promoting the public’s right to know. Her business model mixes foundation grants with sales of 100Reporters’ investigative reports to other news organizations.

The organization’s recent story on the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, “The Implosion of a Legacy,” ran in the Sunday Washington Post Magazine. So far, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Indian Country Today, NBC News, The Huffington Post, Environmental Health News and an array of international publications have featured 100Reporters reports.

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100 Reporters
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