Nominations are being sought for the Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award, presented annually to recognize an individual’s extraordinary contributions to open government or investigative journalism in Wisconsin.

Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus of The Capital Times and a founder of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, was named the inaugural winner in 2011. The late Dick Wheeler, founder of the Wheeler Report and a tireless advocate for public access to the workings of state government, was honored in 2012.

The award is presented jointly by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative JournalismWisconsin Freedom of Information Council and Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Letters of nomination are accepted from journalists, news organizations and other individuals and organizations involved in open government and investigative journalism issues.

They should be sent by Dec. 15 to Andy Hall, the Center’s executive director, at ahall@wisconsinwatch.org or 5006 Vilas Communication Hall, 821 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706.

The recipient will be selected by a panel of representatives from the Center, FOIC and SPJ, and will be honored at the WisconsinWatch.orgdog Awards reception and dinner, which will be held on April 24 at The Madison Club.

Lauren Fuhrmann

Lauren Fuhrmann is the Center's Associate Director. She joined the Center in 2011 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At the Center, Fuhrmann leads revenue development efforts as well as public engagement initiatives, including events, social media, newsletter and promotional materials; 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.