Over our 11-year history, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has trained more than 50 young journalists and public engagement and marketing professionals.
These budding investigative reporters and strategic communicators have come from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where we are based, and from journalism programs around the country, including the Columbia University School of Journalism, the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, the University of Arizona, the University of Missouri, Edgewood College and UW-Eau Claire.
Through our Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Fellowship with Wisconsin Public Radio, we also have trained early career audio journalists in investigative reporting techniques.
Like proud parents, we have watched these fledgling journalists fly from the Wisconsin Watch nest to important positions in the United States and abroad. Our alums have worked for numerous news organizations ranging from the USA TODAY Network and the Wall Street Journal and the BBC to local news outlets including WPR, the Wisconsin State Journal and Cap Times to niche publications such as Wisconsin Health News and the Better Government Association. They have filed dispatches from Europe, Russia, Africa and the Caribbean.
As the pandemic has ravaged the world, former Wisconsin Watch interns have been there to document it and provide crucial information to help the public navigate COVID-19.
Former intern Alec Luhn, a freelancer based in Russia, documented how leaders there ‘dawdled’ while the virus took hold. Sara Jerving, a reporter for Devex, told the story of John Nkengasong, the man tasked with managing the pandemic on the African continent.
Early in the pandemic, Madeline Heim reported for the Appleton Post-Crescent on why Wisconsin was failing to live up to its testing capacity. Natalie Yahr, writing for the Cap Times, has reported stories on how Spanish-speaking Latinos were keeping each other informed — and how the community was pulling together to survive the financial and physical hardships caused by the pandemic.
USA TODAY Network investigative reporter Nick Penzenstadler uncovered how landlords nationwide were getting around eviction bans by “changing locks, removing trash containers so waste piled up and – in one case – attempting to unbolt the front door right off an apartment.” Huff Post’s Tara Golshan covers the intersection of politics and pandemic, including most recently, how President-elect Joe Biden wants to keep crowds down at his inauguration.
Allie Tempus reports for Fair Warning, a news organization that protects consumers from scams and dangerous products and services. In a collaborative piece with Wisconsin Watch, Tempus showed how hucksters were trying to take advantage of lack of knowledge about COVID-19 to sell their worthless “cures” and “preventions.”
Emily Hamer, a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal, continues to break stories about the Wisconsin Department of Corrections’ failure to prevent widespread COVID-19 infection among inmates — or to be transparent about its death toll.
After his Wisconsin Watch internship, Mukhtar Ibrahim founded his own small nonprofit, the Sahan Journal, which covers the immigrant community in Minnesota. Most recently, the Sahan Journal documented the reticence of immigrants to receive vaccinations to curb the spread of the virus.
Bridgit Bowden, our first WPR Mike Simonson fellow, now works for the statewide radio network as a project reporter. She is managing Outbreak Wisconsin, a joint project between Wisconsin Watch and WPR that documents the everyday struggles of Wisconsinites during the pandemic.
Training such high-quality news professionals is rewarding — but it also takes a lot of time and money. It is only possible because of the financial support of people like you. Donate now and your donation will be doubled. NewsMatch and generous donors in our Leadership Circle have established a fund of $75,000 to encourage you to match this amount.
All contributions to the Center are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Please make a gift today and have it matched!
The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (wisconsinwatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, 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.