A lot of us talk about the need for media reform, especially in light of the way the corporatization of the media has gutted the work of investigative journalists, who form the backbone of the Fourth Estate's real civic function as the public's watchdogs on government and corporations.
But there are some folks out there actually doing something about it -- funding the work of investigative journalists, and finding places where their work can be published. Probably the foremost of these is the Nation Investigative Fund.
I recently pointed out how A.C. Thompson's ground-breaking work on vigilantes in post-Katrina New Orleans had produced real-world results: hate-crimes charges have been handed down in one of the cases, and more charges await in others.
Of course, I'm a little biased: the folks at NIF have funded a couple of my own investigative projects, and these too have produced some real-world results. It was an NIF grant, in fact, that made my investigative report on the Minutemen -- a report that concluded that the movement was in a serious state of decay, a conclusion later confirmed by reality. (There's a sample of the work here.)
NIF also funded the investigative piece Max Blumenthal and I wrote for Salon on Sarah Palin's longtime associations with far-right extremists in Alaska -- a report that we later discovered helped drive Palin crazy enough to "go rogue" in the 2008 campaign.
MAram Roston's amazing reportage from Afghanistan that was recently confirmed by DOD internal documents.
Go read more about why you should give to the NIF -- and then give what you can. It really does make a difference.