Reading Time: < 1 minute

Nominations are being sought for the fifth annual Distinguished Wisconsin Watchdog Award, recognizing 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. In 2013, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, the chief author of Wisconsin’s Open Records Law and a strong advocate of the Open Meetings Law, received the award. Last year’s recipient was Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative reporter Dave Umhoefer.

The award is presented jointly by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin 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 March 10 to Andy Hall, the Center’s executive director, at ahall@wisconsinwatch.org or WCIJ, 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 Wisconsin Watchdog Awards reception and dinner, scheduled for April 8 at the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org) 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.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Lauren Fuhrmann 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.

A Wisconsin native, her reporting focused on environmental and health issues. Fuhrmann previously researched audience engagement as a social media intern for Harvest Public Media and spent two years as a multimedia reporter for KBIA 91.3 FM and the Columbia Missourian. Fuhrmann is vice president and treasurer 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 and a member of the inaugural Emerging Leaders Council recognized by the Institute for Nonprofit News. In 2017, Fuhrmann became a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional.