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The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism won seven awards at the Milwaukee Press Club’s annual awards celebration on Friday night.

The Center was honored with four gold awards, one silver and two bronze in the club’s Awards for Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism, the state’s premiere all-media journalism competition.

Center staff and supporters Eric Fuhrmann, Lauren Fuhrmann, Wesley Brooks, Kate Golden, Andy Hall, Dee Hall, Bill Lueders, Sean Kirkby, Alison Dirr, Noah Phillips and Heather Rosenfeld at the Milwaukee Press Club Awards May 15, 2015. The Center won seven awards this year, including best website design.

The Center now has won 32 awards from the press club, receiving eight in 2014 and 2013, four in 2012 and five in 2011.

One of the new awards, a gold for best use of multimedia, was for a collaboration with The Capital Times examining threats to Madison area lakes, and efforts that seek to improve them.

The Center took both silver and bronze for best investigative story or series, for Bill Lueders’ investigations of state prison inmate abuse allegations and solitary confinement and Sean Kirkby’s coverage of use of college students as confidential informants in drug cases.

The Center’s website was also honored, winning gold for best website design. The site was redesigned with the help of the Institute for Nonprofit News (formerly the Investigative News Network) last June and built using Largo, INN’s open-source WordPress framework.

Five University of Wisconsin-Madison students, working as paid Center interns or paid freelance reporters, played important roles in the award-winning projects, which also involved the Center’s five professional staff members and two volunteers. The awards were earned in competition with professional news organizations across Wisconsin.

Andy Hall, the Center’s executive director, said that the Center’s award-winning work probed a wide range of important state issues — state prison inmate abuse allegations and solitary confinement, water contamination in dairy country, the environmental and economic impacts of frac sand mining, the use of college students as confidential informants in drug cases, and controversial experiments on monkeys at UW-Madison.

“The Center, in collaboration with UW-Madison students and news organizations, is shining a light into some of Wisconsin’s most profound problems,” Hall said.



Best Multi-Story Coverage of a Single Feature Topic or Event
Kate Golden and Ron Seely
Kewaunee County’s water woes

Best Business Story or Series
Alison Dirr, Taylor Chase and Kate Golden
Frac-sand boom creates promise, problems for Wisconsin
Stories here, here, here and here.

Best Use of Multimedia
Kate Golden and Wesley Brooks (volunteer), Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism; in collaboration with Todd Milewski and Brandon Raygo, The Capital Times
Murky Waters – Madison’s quest for clean lakes

Best Website Design
Kate Golden, Lauren Fuhrmann and Andy Hall


Best Investigative Story or Series
Bill Lueders, Kate Golden, Lauren Fuhrmann, Andy Hall and Dee J. Hall (Center volunteer)
Cruel and Unusual? Inmates allege abuse at Waupun Correctional Institution


Best Investigative Story or Series
Sean Kirkby
Confidential informants on college campuses

Best Public Service Story or Series
Noah Phillips and Bill Lueders
Controversial monkey experiment planned at UW-Madison

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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