Andy Hall, executive director
Hall, a co-founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and a former Investigative Reporters and Editors board member, won dozens of awards for his reporting in 26 years at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Arizona Republic. He began his career in 1982 as a copyboy at The New York Times. At The Republic, Hall helped break the “Keating Five” scandal involving Sen. John McCain. At the State Journal, Hall’s stories held government and the powerful accountable and protected the vulnerable through coverage that addressed the racial achievement gap in public schools and helped spark the creation of the nationally noted Schools of Hope volunteer tutoring program, revealed NCAA violations by University of Wisconsin athletes, and exposed appalling conditions in neglected neighborhoods such as Allied Drive and Worthington Park. Hall won a first-place award in 2008 for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association. He also has received National Headliner, Gerald Loeb, James K. Batten and Inland Press Association awards for investigative, financial, deadline and civic journalism coverage. Hall has served as a mentor to the staff of La Comunidad, a Spanish-language newspaper in Madison, and has taught numerous courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication. He currently serves on the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council Board of Directors, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism Board of Directors, and Indiana University Media School’s Journalism Alumni Board. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Dee J. Hall, managing editor
Hall, a co-founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, joined the staff as managing editor in June 2015. She worked at the Wisconsin State Journal for 24 years as an editor and reporter focusing on projects and investigations. A 1982 graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school, Hall served reporting internships at the weekly Lake County Star in Crown Point, Ind., The Gary (Ind.) Post-Tribune, The Louisville (Ky.) Times and The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. Prior to returning to her hometown of Madison in 1990, she was a reporter for eight years at The Arizona Republic newspaper in Phoenix, where she covered city government, schools and the environment. During her 32-year journalism career, Hall has won more than three dozen local, state and national awards for her work, including the 2001 State Journal investigation that uncovered a $4 million-a-year secret campaign machine operated by Wisconsin’s top legislative leaders.
Lauren Fuhrmann, associate director
Fuhrmann joined the Center in 2011 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. A Wisconsin native, her reporting has focused on environmental and health issues. Fuhrmann previously researched audience engagement as a social media intern for Harvest Public Media and spent two years as a multimedia reporter for KBIA 91.3 FM and the Columbia Missourian. At WCIJ, Fuhrmann leads WCIJ’s public engagement efforts, including events, social media, newsletter and promotional materials; is co-director of the website; tracks the distribution and assesses the impact of WCIJ’s news stories; assists with development of donors and writing of grant reports; handles bookkeeping duties; produces photos, audio and video content; and copyedits stories. Fuhrmann is vice president of the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was among five young leaders in the inaugural group of “Future Headliners” honored in 2014 by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
Coburn Dukehart, digital and multimedia director
Dukehart joined the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism after 16 years of distinguished work at national news organizations. Her role at the Center includes directing its visual strategy, creating visual and audio content, managing digital assets and training student and professional journalists. Dukehart previously was a senior photo editor at National Geographic, where she managed and wrote for the Proof blog, which showcases international documentary projects. From 2007 to 2013 she was the picture and multimedia editor at NPR — the first person in that role — where she oversaw a wide range of projects, including directing the overall visual strategy for NPR, training reporters in photography, covering daily and long-term assignments, coordinating with the legal and financial departments, implementing a newsroom-wide digital asset management system, and advising on the content management system used by hundreds of NPR producers. She has also worked as a photo editor at USATODAY.com and washingtonpost.com, interned in the White House photo department, and worked for a London-based international publishing group. Dukehart has received numerous multimedia awards from the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Association — most recently placing third in the documentary category of the WHNPA multimedia contest. Her multimedia work also has been honored with a Webby, a Gracie, a Murrow and duPont awards, and she was nominated for a national Emmy. She has coached at a variety of multimedia workshops, including the Syracuse Fall Workshop, the National Press Photographers Association Multimedia Immersion and the Eddie Adams Workshop. Dukehart received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Gail Kohl, development consultant
Kohl comes to the Center with more than 30 years of fundraising experience for both statewide and local organizations, including American Players Theatre, Taliesin Preservation Commission, Frank Lloyd Wright Heritage Tourism Program, United Cerebral Palsy, Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy and Big Top Chautauqua. From 1993 until 2010, Kohl was development director of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Over her career, Kohl has been responsible for major gifts, project and operations funding, membership development and enhancement, strategic partnerships and alliances, event planning and coordination, special projects, proposal and grant writing.
Ron Seely, reporter and editor
Seely joined the Center as a part-time reporter, editor and student mentor in June 2013 after nearly 35 years as an award-winning reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. For the past two decades, Seely covered science and environment for the State Journal. Seely is also a senior lecturer on the faculty of the Life Sciences Communication Department in UW-Madison’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where he has taught science writing for 20 years. Seely has won numerous awards for his newspaper work. Most recently he was named a winner of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ national investigative reporting award for a series on Wisconsin’s failure to adequately regulate factory farms. The series was cited for a third place award behind projects by the New York Times and ProPublica. Seely was the 2010 recipient of the American Chemical Society’s national science writing award, the prestigious James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award. In 2008, he won the Inland Press Association Award for investigative reporting for the series on problems at the Madison Water Utility. And he is a three-time winner of the Wisconsin Press Association’s award for environmental reporting. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.
Bridgit Bowden, Wisconsin Public Radio Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Reporting Fellow
Bowden joined the Center in October 2015 as the first Wisconsin Public Radio Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Reporting Fellow. Bowden focuses on creating investigative stories that are broadcast on WPR and distributed by the Center. Bowden, who is based in the Center’s newsroom, previously was a multimedia reporter for the Hale Center for Journalism at Kansas City Public Television in Kansas City, Missouri. Bowden graduated with degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May 2014. As a student, she worked for KBIA, mid-Missouri’s National Public Radio station. Her work also has appeared in The Kansas City Star, Nashville Public Radio, Al Jazeera America and NPR.
Christa Westerberg, counsel
Westerberg is a shareholder at McGillivray Westerberg & Bender, LLC, in Madison, Wisconsin, where she practices environmental, civil rights, and open government law. Since 2008, Westerberg has served as the vice president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.
Abigail Becker, reporter
Becker joined the Center in June 2015 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a journalism degree focused on reporting and a certificate in digital studies. Before joining the Center’s investigative reporting team, she interned at the Wisconsin State Journal’s city desk. While attending UW-Madison, Becker held several editorships at The Daily Cardinal, an independent student newspaper, including city news editor, social media manager and editor-in-chief. She also has previous experience writing for the Madison Commons, a hyperlocal website supported by UW-Madison’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, and the Sun Prairie Star.
Haley Henschel, reporter
Haley Henschel joined the Center as an intern in summer 2015 after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism and a certificate in global cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before working at the Center, she served as the editor-in-chief of Souvenirs, a student-run travel magazine supported by the Wisconsin Union Directorate. Henschel also reported and edited for The Daily Cardinal, one of UW-Madison’s student newspapers, and worked at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a copy editing and multiplatform desk intern. Henschel also has written and designed content for Curb, a magazine produced by UW-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication students. In addition, she has reported for the university’s Division of International Studies’ website and blogged for International Academic Programs while studying in Australia.
Mara Jezior, public engagement and marketing assistant
Mara Jezior joined the Center in June 2015 as a public outreach and marketing intern after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism and history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before working at the Center, she held design and marketing internships at Hometown News LP and UW-Madison’s International Academic Programs. She also wrote and edited for The Daily Cardinal, serving as the newspaper’s managing editor during her junior year. She is the first Center intern to work solely on the organization’s business side.
Sean Kirkby, reporter
Kirkby joined the Center as an intern in summer 2014, after completing his bachelor’s degree in journalism, English and history at UW-Madison. Previously, he reported and edited for The Badger Herald, one of UW-Madison’s student newspapers, and worked for the university’s writing center as a Writing Fellow, helping students revise their course papers. His work has appeared in Wisconsin Health News, a news service focusing on health care policy in the state; on the university’s home page; and in Madison Commons, a hyperlocal blog supported by UW-Madison’s journalism school.