Alexandria Bordas pursued her two-year investigation as a freelancer.
Finding Her Voice
Legal services enables an exposé
FIRE helped a reporter secure legal protection on a sensitive sexual-assault story—so she could safely give voice to the alleged victims.
Freelancer Alexandria Bordas released her two-year investigation in April, 2021, and almost immediately it caused a major impact for the San Francisco Chronicle and the region.
But the story almost went unpublished.
Months earlier, Bordas had contacted FIRE in a panic, suspecting that the contract she had signed had exposed her to all the liability for a sensitive story, which was true—and a common problem.
She was about to report sexual-assault allegations against a rising political star in California’s wine country. Her story subject was a litigation threat—to her personally.
"I am now on the verge of pulling this story," she wrote in her application to FIRE's legal assistance program earlier this year. "I feel stuck."
With FIRE’s legal assistance, she asked the Chronicle to legally protect her. The paper did the right thing: it indemnified her, stood by her story, and ran it with multiple follow-ups—but only after hearing from the reporter.
"Had the Chronicle not ultimately found a solution to legally protect me, I would have had no choice but to pull the story and walk away," Bordas said. "I couldn't have done it without FIRE."