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Raquel Urbina feeds her daughter Adaliz Angeles on June 24, 2022 at their home in Milwaukee. Urbina is an administrator of the Milwaukee Formula Parents Facebook group, which allows its 3,000-plus members to swap tips about how to obtain baby formula during a national shortage in recent months. Searching for formula feels like a “treasure hunt,” Urbina says. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: ‘When it’s rigid, it breaks’: How federal rules and market dominance fueled Wisconsin’s baby formula shortage

Wisconsin Watch is a nonprofit and nonpartisan newsroom. Subscribe to our our newsletter to get our investigative stories and Friday news roundup.

Every December I have the great pleasure of creating a roundup of Wisconsin Watch’s best photos of the year. As I go through the process of reviewing our photo archive, I am always amazed by the depth and breadth of stories we have produced, as well as the visuals we have made to amplify that reporting.

Every story that Wisconsin Watch produces starts with a planning session that includes how we can further our reader’s understanding of complex issues through visual storytelling.

To bring our readers the most compelling images, we travel across the state using a combination of staff photographers, photo interns, freelance photojournalists and partners at other news organizations. Most importantly, we strive to be thoughtful and compassionate at all stages of the process: from concept to photography to editing and finally, when writing the caption.

This past year we crisscrossed the state from Bayfield to La Crosse to Milwaukee covering issues including democracy, environmental problems, reproductive rights and food insecurity. We produced and sourced visuals for the seven- part investigative podcast Open and Shut. We used a drone to photograph a Lake Michigan seawall built by Concordia University that was having unintended negative impacts on nearby shoreline. And we expanded our coverage outside of Wisconsin to Illinois and Iowa as part of our partnership with the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk.

We hope you enjoy this work as much as we did creating it!

Protesters gather outside the Wisconsin State Capitol on June 24, 2022 in Madison, Wis., during a rally and march for legal abortion. Earlier that day, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe. v. Wade, ending the federally protected constitutional right to an abortion. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: Wisconsin’s 173-year-old ban allows only life-saving ‘therapeutic abortions.’ No one knows what that means.
Amy and Dan Wempner pose with their 18-year-old son Armond at their home in Kiel, Wis., on June 2, 2022. After discovering racist Snapchat messages directed at Armond before his junior year of high school, the family pushed the Kiel Area School District to respond. A plan to offer anti-racism training prompted backlash from white parents who accused the school of promoting critical race theory, an advanced academic concept that conservative activists have politically weaponized. Armond ultimately transferred to Fond du Lac High School. (Lianne Milton for Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: In Kiel, Wisconsin, attack on ‘critical race theory’ ignores bullying of Black student

Ade Onabule, a UW Madison student, votes in Tripp Commons on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Nov. 8, 2022. (Amena Saleh / Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: Evers beats Michels for Wisconsin governor; Johnson defeats Barnes in U.S. Senate race
Gov. Tony Evers is seen in the town of Campbell, outside of La Crosse, Wis., on July 20, 2022. He announced that the state filed a lawsuit against PFAS manufacturers they allege knew about the harmful impacts of the “forever chemicals” yet failed to share that information with the public. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: Wisconsin’s French Island faces stark choices as PFAS water crisis lingers
Supporters of Tim Michels, Republican candidate for governor, take photos with him after a campaign event at the Bristled Boar Saloon & Grill in Middleton, Wis., on Nov. 3, 2022. Tony Evers beat Michels in the race for governor on Nov. 8. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)
JoAnn Jones, associate judge for the Ho-Chunk Nation Trial Court and former Ho-Chunk Nation president, is seen in her office in Black River Falls, Wis., on Feb. 9, 2022. Casino revenue chiefly funds vital Ho-Chunk infrastructure and government programs like education, social services and tribal courts. But plunging revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic triggered widespread budget cuts. (Ilana Bar-av for Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: How we reported on challenges and opportunities for Wisconsin’s tribal economies 
In 2007, the Concordia University Wisconsin, in Mequon, Wis., finished fortifying a 130-foot bluff and building a 2,700-foot-long rock wall to buffer waves. The $12 million project was among the largest built along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The project has accelerated erosion on downstream properties from around 9 inches to more than 7 feet per year. Photo taken Aug. 9, 2022. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: 15 years later, Wisconsin university’s massive Lake Michigan seawall frustrates downstream neighbors

Amruddin, Lamha and Seema Nabizada were some of the 76,000 Afghans evacuated to the United States in August 2021. They are pictured in Rockville, Md., on Feb, 22, 2022 after being resettled to Maryland, despite having family who were resettled 120 miles away in Virginia. (Eman Mohammed for Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: ‘I don’t know what will happen’: After months at Ft. McCoy Afghan family resettled in separate states

On Jan. 4, 1998, the dry cleaning business owned by Dale Chus family in Appleton, Wis., was destroyed by fire, and nearly two years later, he was prosecuted for arson by Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic. Although convicted, Chu has always maintained his innocence. He is seen here outside the food truck he now operates, Miss Kims Mobile Kitchen, in Chesapeake, Va., on March 16, 2022. (Stephen Katz for Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: Prosecution included questionable witnesses, racial stereotype, in 2000 arson trial of Dale Chu
John Hoefler and his husband, Andy Ferguson, milk cows at Hoefler Dairy in New Vienna, Iowa, on Oct. 23, 2022. Hoefler is a third-generation farmer and tends to 400 acres of corn and alfalfa and 230 cows. Ferguson is a school principal in the nearby city of Dubuque. This image is part of an upcoming story about LGBTQ+ farmers in the midwest. (Bennet Goldstein / Wisconsin Watch)
Sarah Bressler, manager of the Hunger Task Force farm in Franklin, Wis., harvests carrots in one of the farm’s hoop houses on March 1, 2022. The hoop houses allow the farm to grow and harvest fresh produce during the winter. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: Local grow-your-own movement blossoms in America’s Dairyland
Margaret Benton, 48, is seen at home in Sun Prairie, Wis., on April 9, 2022. Benton raised eight children and sometimes worried about where she would get enough food for her family. But the state’s FoodShare program and local food pantries helped sustain them. “If I need some food, still today, I’m going to the food pantry.” (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

From the story: Pandemic support fading for 1 in 12 Wisconsinites who were food insecure

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Coburn Dukehart is an Associate Director at Wisconsin Watch. She joined the organization in 2015 as the Digital and Multimedia Director. She is currently head of product and audience, directs visual and digital strategy; creates visual content; manages digital assets and trains student and professional journalists. Dukehart previously was a senior photo editor at National Geographic, picture and multimedia editor at NPR, and a photo editor at and She has received numerous awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Association.