Link to our staff page
Brant Houston, board president
Houston is the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting and teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois. He is a founder and chair of the board of directors for the Investigative News Network, a consortium of nonprofit investigative news organizations. Houston formerly worked as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, a 4,000-member organization, and as a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Before joining IRE, he was an award-winning investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 17 years. Houston was part of the newsroom staff of The Kansas City Star that won a Pulitzer Prize for its work on the 1981 walkway collapse at the city’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, and he was one of four investigative team members who won a Headliners Award for coverage of misconduct by Kansas City area building inspectors. At The Hartford Courant, he won awards for investigations into state and federal government programs and was the paper’s database editor. During 14 years at IRE, Houston oversaw the creation of numerous training programs nationally and internationally and also helped it strengthen and increase its membership. Houston is the author of three editions of the textbook, “Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide,” and co-author of the fourth edition of “The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook.” Houston co-founded the Global Investigative Journalism Network in 2000. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Bennington College in Vermont.
Karen Lincoln Michel, board vice president
Lincoln Michel, a veteran editor, writer and newsroom leader, is editor of Madison Magazine. She writes a blog, “A Digital Native American: Views of a Ho-Chunk Journalist” and is a former executive editor of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La., and assistant managing editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Lincoln Michel is a nationally noted leader in Native American journalism and newsroom diversity and a member of the Ho-Chunk tribe in Wisconsin. As assistant managing editor in Green Bay, Lincoln Michel oversaw the Opinion page team, conducted community outreach to attract new audiences, and focused on public service journalism through data-driven analyses. Previously she covered state government and politics in her role as the Press-Gazette’s Madison bureau chief. Lincoln Michel began her daily newspaper career in Wisconsin as a reporter at the La Crosse Tribune and went on to The Dallas Morning News in Texas, where she covered a variety of beats. From 1987 to 2005, Lincoln Michel was part-owner of the twice-monthly newspaper News From Indian Country, published in northern Wisconsin. She has written extensively about Native American issues as a freelancer and was a columnist for The New York Times Syndicate’s former New America News Service. In 2008, Lincoln Michel completed a two-year term as president of UNITY: Journalists of Color, the largest journalism organization in the nation, representing thousands of news reporters and editors of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. A past president of the Native American Journalists Association, Lincoln Michel has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a master’s degree from Marquette University.
Jack Mitchell, board secretary
Professor Emeritus Mitchell joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication faculty in January 1998 after a 30-year career in public radio. As Director of Wisconsin Public Radio for 21 years, Mitchell led the most extensive and successful state or university public radio system in the country. On a national level, Mitchell was the first employee of National Public Radio and was instrumental in developing the groundbreaking newsmagazine “All Things Considered.” During his years as the program’s first producer and executive producer, ATC won both the Peabody Award and the DuPont Award. Mitchell was elected to an unprecedented four terms (12 years) on the National Public Radio Board of Directors, including three years as chair. As a professor emeritus, Mitchell teaches courses in public broadcasting, broadcast news, intermediate reporting, mass media and society, and the survey of mass communication. Mitchell’s awards include the Edward Elson National Public Radio Distinguished Service Award, the UW-Extension Award for Excellence, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Edward R. Murrow Award, public radio’s highest honor. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from the University of Michigan. He earned his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois.
Keith Baumgartner, board treasurer
Baumgartner has been a certified public accountant with Smith & Gesteland, LLP in Madison since 1985, and was appointed partner in 2000. He is the director of assurance services and chairperson of the Nonprofit Services Group, serving clients that include nonprofits, construction entities, manufacturing, financial institutions and distributors. His nonprofit consulting specialties include internal control studies, preparation of accounting and financial procedures manuals, cost allocation studies, exempt organization tax issues, exempt organization business tax issues and private foundation taxation. Baumgartner has served on several nonprofit boards in various capacities, including the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison and the Fitchburg Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Baumgartner received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and earned the Elijah Watt Sells Award on the CPA exam.
Malcolm Brett, board member
Brett is the Director of Broadcasting and Media Innovations – University of Wisconsin – Extension (UWEX) and General Manager of WHA-TV, the flagship station of Wisconsin Public Television. He oversees the University’s public radio and public television stations which are part of Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio. He also oversees UWEX’s distance learning facilities and Instructional Communications Systems. Mr. Brett has also served as the Director of Television for Wisconsin Public Television. In that role he oversaw the network’s University and State licensee stations. During the past 30 years at WPT, Mr. Brett has served as director of development as well as production manager for the national show “The New Tech Times.” His extensive knowledge of public television includes development, production management, strategic planning, budgeting, government relations and community relations. He was named PBS Development Professional of the Year in 1998 for his system-wide contributions and for his leadership of WPT’s development program. Mr. Brett led WPT’s digital conversion, and has helped guide, design, fund or implement various of WPT’s national public television models including – Portal Wisconsin, the National Center for Community Engagement, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Hometown Stories and extensive Veterans programming. Along with colleagues at WPSU and WOSU, Brett led the development of University Place, which is built on multicast, Internet streaming and VOD opportunities for University licensed PTV stations. Mr. Brett served on Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial celebration commission. He established and chaired the Wisconsin Cultural Coalition and led its support for Portal Wisconsin. Mr. Brett served on and chaired the Board of American Public Television, the Board of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, the Affinity Group coalition the Board of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the University Licensee Association. He currently serves as professional vice-chair of the PBS Board.
Charles Lewis, board member
Lewis is Distinguished Journalist in Residence and executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University School of Communication. Lewis is an investigative journalist and bestselling author who has founded or co-founded three nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC, including the Center for Public Integrity. Lewis left a successful career as a producer for the CBS News 60 Minutes and began the Center, which, under his leadership, published roughly 300 investigative reports, including 14 books, from 1989 through 2004. In 1998, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Lewis was a Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University in 2005 and a paid consultant regarding access to information issues for the Carter Center in Atlanta. In 2006, he was a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Lewis is president of the Fund for Independence in Journalism and is writing his sixth book to be published by HarperCollins. He has written articles for the New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Baumann is the principal and managing director of Green Line Strategies, LLC in Middleton, Wis., whose mission is to help associations improve their non-dues revenue in support of their missions and members. He is an expert in sponsorship and advertising, newsletters and magazines, Internet strategies, executive education, and large-scale health promotion and disease prevention programs. In addition to more than a decade working for associations, Baumann has worked extensively in the health care and publishing fields, including 10 years as editor and managing editor of the Chicago Suburban Times Newspapers. Baumann was recently recognized by his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which honored him with a Distinguished Service Award.
Shah is director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In his nearly 25 years at Madison, Shah has explored diversity and disparity in mass communication, connecting issues of identity and representation in the media across not just race and ethnicity, but also nation and diaspora. His work has centered on some of the most important media case studies of the day, from the partisan political debate over Latino/Hispanic immigration to the crisis and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Shah has a bachelor’s degree in communication and sociology from the University of California-San Diego, a master’s degree in communication from Purdue University, and a doctorate from the Indiana University School of Journalism. He is the author of several books, most recently, “The Production of Modernization: Daniel Lerner, Mass Media and the Passing of Traditional Society” (Temple University Press, 2011).
Former board members
Haumersen, a certified public accountant since 1985, joined Wegner LLP, CPAs and Consultants in Madison in 1981 and was appointed partner in 1990. In 2002, he was appointed managing partner. Haumersen is the partner-in-charge of the tax-exempt group which serves more than 400 clients with budgets ranging from $100,000 to $25 million. His expertise in this area includes financial and compliance audits, management information systems, nonprofit advisory services and tax consulting to tax-exempt organizations. He has held numerous seminars and training programs for tax-exempt organizations and has won many awards for his services in the field. Haumersen has been a member of numerous boards of directors, and has been active on local nonprofit committees. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Institute of Management Accountants. Haumersen was appointed to the founding board of the Wisconsin Nonprofits Association. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Denise Callaway joined the Milwaukee Public Schools as business and community partnerships coordinator in 2010. Prior to joining MPS, Callaway worked for more than seven years at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation as director of communications. A communications professional in Milwaukee for more than 30 years, she was an award-winning reporter for WTMJ-TV and served as director of communications and public affairs for the Milwaukee Public Schools. In her new position at MPS, Callaway focuses on growing partnerships with the community, local businesses and foundations and is executive director of the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation. Callaway is the past chair of CommA, an international association of community foundation communication professionals, and a former member of the Council on Foundation’s Communications & Marketing Committee. Callaway is active in many community organizations, including Fourth Street Forum, where she also serves on the Executive Committee and as a moderator for the public affairs program on Milwaukee Public Television. She is a charter member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women – Milwaukee. Callaway earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Indiana State University, where she currently serves as a member of the African-American Alumni Advisory Committee.