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Matthew DeFour will be the new statehouse editor for Wisconsin Watch. He will lead a three-member statehouse bureau as an editor and reporter, starting Sept. 6, 2022. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

Wisconsin Watch is pleased to announce the hiring of Matthew DeFour as the leader of its new statehouse bureau.

A long-time reporter and editor for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, DeFour will join Wisconsin Watch Sept. 6. He will lead a three-member statehouse bureau as an editor and reporter.

The team will focus its investigative reporting on threats to Wisconsin’s democracy. It will work closely with the entire Wisconsin Watch staff and will collaborate with other news outlets to investigate government integrity and quality of life issues including environment, education, economy, racial and criminal justice, and health.

DeFour, 40, comes to Wisconsin Watch with a wealth of experience reporting on local and state government in Wisconsin. He covered the Wisconsin state Legislature, governor’s office and state agencies for the State Journal for five years. For the past four years, DeFour has directed the State Journal’s statehouse coverage. Before that, DeFour’s beats included Dane County government and K-12 education.

His history of deep, hard-hitting reporting on government earned him the Distinguished Wisconsin Watchdog Award for 2020.

DeFour is based in Madison. He can be reached at mdefour@wisconsinwatch.org

DeFour, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University, describes his early passion for the business while growing up in Michigan.

“My first act of journalism was in 8th grade,” DeFour said. “Our principal canceled the year-end overnight field trip, and I was so incensed I rewrote Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, subbing in the principal’s name for King George, printed out copies and distributed them to students the next day. In high school I was one of two freshmen accepted to write for the school newspaper. By senior year I was the editor and knew that journalism was my vocation.”

Other members of the statehouse bureau team include:

Matt Mencarini, who came to Wisconsin Watch from the Louisville Courier-Journal investigative team. He is based in Madison and can be reached at mmencarini@wisconsinwatch.org

Jacob Resneck, a Report for America corps member who most recently worked in Juneau, Alaska as an editor and reporter for the nonprofit public media consortium CoastAlaska. He is based in Oshkosh and can be reached at jresneck@wisconsinwatch.org.

Wisconsin Watch is dedicated to investigating the state of Wisconsin’s democracy, including access to voting, the integrity of elections, disinformation, gender rights, threats to public officials and democracy in the workplace.

“Matt brings a high level of passion to everything he does, and this job will be no exception,” Managing Editor Dee J. Hall said. “His deep knowledge of state government and the political landscape will be invaluable as we investigate how Wisconsin can save its democracy.”

About Wisconsin Watch: The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism increases the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative reporting in Wisconsin, while training current and future generations of investigative journalists. Our work fosters an informed citizenry and strengthens democracy. Wisconsin Watch, the Center’s news outlet, distributes its content to newspapers, radio and TV stations and news websites in Wisconsin and nationwide. In 2021, Wisconsin Watch produced 74 major stories that were picked up by more than 360 news outlets, reaching an estimated audience of more than 60 million. 

To support the Center’s work, click here. All financial support is publicly acknowledged to protect the integrity of our journalism. 

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