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Wisconsin Watch associate director Coburn Dukehart, left, and reporting intern Erin Gretzinger are seen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication awards ceremony on April 29, 2023. Dukehart won a Distinguished Service Award and Gretzinger won a James L. Baughman Senior Achievement Award.

Coburn Dukehart, an associate director at Wisconsin Watch, has won a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Presented at a ceremony on Friday, the award honors outstanding alumni, with faculty selecting winners based on their achievements in all fields of journalism and mass communication. Dukehart graduated from UW-Madison in 1997, earning bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English, before embarking on an award-winning career in digital strategy, product development, photojournalism and multimedia storytelling. 

“In her time with Wisconsin Watch, Coburn has significantly raised our visual game, including  photography and website design, and has grown to become a top leader in the organization,” Managing Editor Dee J. Hall said. “We are lucky to have her national-caliber skills.” 

Dukhart has spent eight years at Wisconsin Watch, where she currently serves as head of product, directs visual and digital strategy, creates visual content and trains student journalists. 

She previously served as senior photo editor at National Geographic, picture and multimedia editor at NPR and a photo editor at and

In her 20-plus year career, Dukhart has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International, White House News Photographers Association, Webbys, Edward R. Murrow awards and Milwaukee Press Club. She has also been nominated for a national Emmy.

Dukehart also holds a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Other UW-Madison SJMC Distinguished Service Award recipients for 2023 include: 

  • Gary Mueller, executive creative director at BVK, and founder of Serve Marketing, the country’s only all-volunteer, not-for-profit ad agency.
  • Phil Rosenthal, former columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Los Angeles Daily News.

Wisconsin Watch reporting interns Erin Gretzinger and Hope Karnopp were also honored on Friday with James L. Baughman Senior Achievement Awards for outstanding academic, professional and community service. Karnopp most recently worked as an intern for Meet the Press in Washington D.C., and Gretzinger will be starting a fellowship at the Chronicle of Higher Education after her graduation this spring. Gretzinger was also named the 2022 Collegiate Journalist of the Year by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

More information about the SJMC awards can be found here

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