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Dear reader,

I recently joined the Wisconsin Watch team as the News414 project manager. News414 is an initiative formed through a partnership between Wisconsin Watch and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. This project connects journalists to residents in 18 of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. Many of these neighborhoods are underserved, which creates an information divide. 

This partnership was built to address staggering segregation and racial disparities in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. It represents a reshaping of a state’s journalistic ecosystem. And it offers a model of journalism that plugs information gaps resulting from racial inequity and engages residents in identifying problems and exploring solutions.

The future of journalism depends on this type of collaboration between news organizations. Wisconsin Watch and NNS are both small newsrooms and one way we can keep producing strong journalism is by partnering in our reporting and sharing our resources with one another. To inform the public. To hold our leaders accountable. To strengthen our democracy. 

We not only bridge that information divide, but we also provide a space for Milwaukee community members to have a voice, an opportunity to tell their stories, and an outlet to determine the best solutions for their community’s needs. 

The planning of News414 began prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but when we launched during the outbreak, the importance of this initiative became clear to us, now, more than ever.

Your donation today impacts Wisconsin Watch’s ability to continue initiatives like News414, which has resulted in real stories about real people who are facing the impact of an outdated State unemployment system, unlawful evictions and the failures of organizations put in place to assist the Milwaukee community. 

To date, we have connected with more than 2,000 community members and, by building trusting relationships with those individuals, News414 has connected Milwaukee residents to information and resources needed to navigate systems that create barriers to food access, unemployment benefits, housing and much more.    

I am excited about our work as we roll into 2021, focusing on two of Milwaukee’s most underserved zip codes: 53206 and 53215. We will continue to connect to community members through our successful SMS texting service, but also through intentional relationships with community based organizations, K-12 schools and other community based initiatives.  

Will you join me by making a donation of $100, $250, $500 or whatever amount is meaningful to you? Your donation of any amount brings us closer to reaching our $75,000 and directly supports important local reporting, including News414.

Your support has an impact on our community and helps better the lives of everyone through transformative, on-the-ground reporting in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Thank you. 

Sincerely,

Bevin Christie
News414 Project Manager

Jay Burseth

Jay Burseth joined the Center in April 2020 as the Development Director. His role includes setting the organization’s vision for fundraising growth; building and executing a development plan; working directly with donors and other supporters to further the Center’s mission; managing grant proposals and reports; and leading the development team and interns to meet fundraising goals. Prior to joining the Center, Burseth led fundraising for the Milwaukee County Parks and was the Development Director for the Milwaukee-based public radio music station, WMSE 91.7. Burseth holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from UW-Milwaukee, where he focused on fundraising and marketing in public media, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History, also from UWM.