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Today we’re continuing our new occasional podcast series with a conversation between the Center’s Kate Golden and freelancer Jake Harper, about his recently published piece showing that over the past decade, Wisconsin Supreme Court justices tended to favor clients whose attorneys had donated to their campaigns, and recused themselves from just 2 percent of cases involving attorney donors.

This isn’t the sort of project that could be done with old-fashioned reporting techniques. Harper, not an expert computer programmer, wrote a series of computer programs to scrape 11 years of cases from the Wisconsin Supreme Court website and cross-reference the attorneys listed with campaign finance records at the Government Accountability Board.

To sum up, it was a learning experience:

The story:
Wisconsin Supreme Court justices tend to favor attorney donors Oct. 20, 2013

The data visualization:

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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Kate GoldenMultimedia director and reporter

Kate Golden, multimedia director and reporter, specializes in environmental stories and data visualizations.