Your Right to Know: Official calendars are a basic public record

Jason Smathers

It’s a pretty simple question for a public official: “What exactly do you do with your time?”

Sometimes, the best way to answer that question is to obtain the official’s calendar, through the state’s open records law. In my work as a reporter, I’ve done this for the state treasurer and his staff, who work for an office with few official duties. I’ve also used the monthly calendars of Gov. Scott Walker to plot his travel and track his day-to-day meetings. So when I wanted a better understanding of how the duties of Sheboygan Mayor Mike Vandersteen and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Amodeo overlap, I asked to see their calendars. Amodeo’s response was simply, “Oh, OK.”

Vandersteen’s response was more terse. Continue Reading

New England investigative news center exposes faulty Lyme disease testing

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting has discovered that thousands of people are receiving non-FDA approved tests for Lyme disease, which may be giving unreliable results. The report includes a graphic showing the spread of Lyme disease over time — including to Wisconsin, which is one of the hotspots for the tick-borne disease. One of the testing companies is in Osceola, Wisconsin. Continue Reading

Your voices: Testimonials about the Center

“Wanted: A few kind words.”

With that email subject line, we reached out in December 2013 to journalists, journalism educators and the public, asking: “Would you be willing to write a sentence or so about the value of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s work?” Continue Reading