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Jonah Chester is Wisconsin Public Radio’s 2022-2023 Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Reporting Fellow embedded in the Wisconsin Watch newsroom. He most recently worked at Public News Service, a national radio news service, where he covered Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. He previously produced the 6 O’Clock News at WORT 89.9 FM in Madison, where he won numerous awards from the Milwaukee Press Club and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association for his reporting on issues in Dane County and south-central Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Watch and WPR are pleased to announce that Jonah Chester has been chosen as the 2022-23 Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Reporting Fellow. 

A graduate of Indiana University’s Media School, Chester is a storyteller who also loves to dive deeply into issues — passions that have drawn him to investigative reporting.

The fellowship is named for award-winning Superior-based WPR reporter Mike Simonson, who passed away unexpectedly in 2014. The fellowship is a collaboration between WPR and Wisconsin Watch, offering journalists resources and mentorship in investigative journalism, editing and on-air production.

Chester formerly worked for Public News Service covering Wisconsin and for WORT community radio in Madison. He plans to focus on transportation-related issues during his yearlong fellowship embedded in the Wisconsin Watch newsroom. 

In his three years in Wisconsin, Chester has won 10 audio awards from the Milwaukee Press Club and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association for investigative reporting, breaking news, ongoing coverage, use of audio and other categories. 

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to work with the fantastic reporters and editors in both the Wisconsin Watch and WPR newsrooms,” Chester said. “I’m looking forward to spending the next year learning from both teams and strengthening my abilities as an investigative reporter and audio storyteller.”

Said Wisconsin Watch Managing Editor Dee J. Hall: “Jonah brings both local knowledge of Wisconsin and a superb ability to tell a story online and on the radio, which makes him a perfect fit for this fellowship. We look forward to tapping into his reporting and audio skills in the coming year — and helping him develop new skills.”

About WPR: For more than 100 years, Wisconsin Public Radio has served the people of Wisconsin with quality news, music, talk and entertainment. On air, online and in the community — WPR works for Wisconsin. Listen, learn more and donate online at WPR is a service of the Educational Communications Board and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About Wisconsin Watch: Based at the UW-Madison, Wisconsin Watch is an independent nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to increase the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative reporting in Wisconsin while training current and future generations of investigative journalists. Its work fosters an informed citizenry and strengthens democracy. 

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