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We haven’t been around long enough to call ourselves award-winning … until now.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism raked in five awards from the Milwaukee Press Club’s annual Awards for Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism, which were announced today.

The Center received three first-place awards — for best coverage of a single news topic or event, best innovative online feature, and best investigative story or series.

Sharing in the awards were eight graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication for work produced as reporting interns or as students collaborating with the Center.

The details:

First place, best coverage of a single news topic or event: Former intern Jacob Kushner, Center reporter and multimedia manager Kate Golden, Capitol News Connection reporter Manuel Quinones, Center executive director Andy Hall, volunteer interns coordinators Robert Gutsche Jr. and Dee J. Hall, and Center freelancer Jake Naughton, for our Dairyland Diversity series, about Wisconsin dairies’ growing reliance upon immigrant workers. The six-part series was published in 2009 and 2010 and was launched with assistance from The Country Today, a newspaper focusing upon agricultural and rural issues. The award is for stories released in 2010:

Part 1: Immigrants now 40 percent of dairy work force – Nov. 4, 2009
Part 2: A delicate existence: Undocumented and living on a Wisconsin dairy farm – Nov. 11, 2009
Part 3: Undocumented and driving without a license – Dec. 16, 2009
Part 4: Immigrants help Wisconsin dairy farms. Will Congress help them? – April 12, 2010
Part 5: Wisconsin’s dairy farms are growing — along with their immigrant work forces – May 26, 2010
Part 6: Immigrant dairy workers transform a rural Wisconsin community – July 11, 2010

• First place, best innovative online feature: Kate Golden, for her Dairyland Diversity interactive graphic, The changing landscape of Wisconsin dairy farms.

• First place, best investigative story or series: UW-Madison journalism graduates Adam Riback, Bob Marshall and Lavilla Capener; and former Center interns Alex Morrell and Allie Tempus, for ‘Smart drug’ abuse rising on campuses, about the growing use and abuse of Adderall and other prescription drugs at University of Wisconsin campuses. This story started as a project in a reporting class taught by Professor Deborah Blum.

• Second place, best public service or public education feature story: Kate Golden, for a three-part series on the for-profit Westwood College Online, sued by a student for operating without approval in Wisconsin. State regulators halted enrollment at the college partly in response to the story (since then, Westwood applied and has been approved to operate here).

• Second place, best business story or series: Kate Golden, for How a polluter gets stimulus money — and avoids environmental review. Golden collaborated with the Center for Public Integrity, which published her piece on Didion Ethanol Inc. and did a broader report on environmental violators that got stimulus money.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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