Meet the Center’s staff.
Link to our Board of Directors
Andy Hall, executive director
Hall, a former Investigative Reporters and Editors board member, won dozens of awards for his reporting in 26 years at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Arizona Republic. He began his career in 1982 as a copyboy at The New York Times. At The Republic, Hall helped break the “Keating Five” scandal involving Sen. John McCain. At the State Journal, Hall’s stories held government and the powerful accountable and protected the vulnerable through coverage that addressed the racial achievement gap in public schools and helped spark the creation of the nationally noted Schools of Hope volunteer tutoring program, revealed NCAA violations by University of Wisconsin athletes, and exposed appalling conditions in neglected neighborhoods such as Allied Drive and Worthington Park. Hall won a first-place award in 2008 for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association. He also has received National Headliner, Gerald Loeb, James K. Batten and Inland Press Association awards for investigative, financial, deadline and civic journalism coverage. Hall has served as a mentor to the staff of La Comunidad, a Spanish-language newspaper in Madison, and has taught numerous courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication. He currently serves on the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council Board of Directors, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism Board of Directors, and Indiana University Journalism Alumni Advisory Board. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Bill Lueders, Money and Politics Project director
Lueders is a veteran Wisconsin newspaper editor and reporter who came the Center after 25 years at Isthmus, a Madison weekly. He is also the elected president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, a statewide group that works to protect public access to meetings and records. He has received national awards for editorial writing and reporting on animal issues and state awards for investigative, legal, interpretative and business reporting. He is the author of three books: An Enemy of the State: The Life of Erwin Knoll, Cry Rape: The True Story of One Woman’s Harrowing Quest for Justice and Watchdog: 25 Years of Muckraking and Rabblerousing. He was named Madison’s Favorite Reporter in the 2013-14 Isthmus readers poll.
Kate Golden, reporter and multimedia director
Golden specializes in environmental stories and data visualizations, is co-director of the Center’s website, WisconsinWatch.org, and is handy in print, radio, video, photo and online media. She has presented panels on environmental reporting, data analysis and data visualizations for Investigative Reporters and Editors. She came to the Center from Alaska, where she reported on natural resources and business for the Juneau Empire. Before she got into journalism, Golden spent a year studying lowland gorillas in central Africa and collected oral histories in Zanzibar; she has also worked as a photographer. Her work has appeared in Marketplace, washingtonpost.com, and many an Alaskan news outlet. Golden has degrees from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Christa Westerberg, counsel
Christa Westerberg is a shareholder at McGillivray Westerberg & Bender, LLC, in Madison, Wisconsin, where she practices environmental, civil rights, and open government law. Since 2008, Westerberg has served as the vice president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.
Gail Kohl, development consultant
Kohl comes to the Center with more than 30 years of fundraising experience for both statewide and local organizations, including American Players Theatre, Taliesin Preservation Commission, Frank Lloyd Wright Heritage Tourism Program, United Cerebral Palsy, Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy and Big Top Chautauqua. From 1993 until 2010, Kohl was development director of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Over her career, Kohl has been responsible for major gifts, project and operations funding, membership development and enhancement, strategic partnerships and alliances, event planning and coordination, special projects, proposal and grant writing.
Dee J. Hall, interns director
Hall is a volunteer and co-founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. She also works as an investigative reporter at the Wisconsin State Journal, where in recent years she has focused on stories involving official misconduct. Before joining the State Journal 19 years ago, Hall was a reporter for eight years at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. She is a native of Madison and a graduate of Indiana University.
Lauren Fuhrmann, public engagement director and reporter
Fuhrmann joined the Center in January 2011 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. As public engagement director, Fuhrmann is responsible for building the Center’s relationships with individuals and organizations. She assists with revenue generation efforts, co-directs the Center’s website, WisconsinWatch.org, tracks the reach and impact of its journalism, and handles a variety of duties, including social media development, event planning, newsletter publication and bookkeeping. She has presented panels on measuring nonprofit newsrooms’ reach, public engagement and impact for Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Investigative News Network. Fuhrmann is vice president of the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. A Wisconsin native, she has produced investigative reports for the Center, focusing on environmental, workplace safety and health issues. She previously researched audience engagement as a social media intern for Harvest Public Media and spent two years as a multimedia reporter for KBIA 91.3 FM and the Columbia Missourian. In 2014, Fuhrmann was among the first five young Wisconsin journalists honored as “Future Headliners” by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association in recognition of their industry leadership.
Ron Seely, reporter and editor
Ron Seely joined the Center as a part-time reporter, editor and student mentor in June 2013 after nearly 35 years as an award-winning reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. For the past two decades, Seely covered science and environment for the State Journal. Seely is also a senior lecturer on the faculty of the Life Sciences Communication Department in UW-Madison’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where he has taught science writing for 20 years. Seely has won numerous awards for his newspaper work. Most recently he was named a winner of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ national investigative reporting award for a series on Wisconsin’s failure to adequately regulate factory farms. The series was cited for a third place award behind projects by the New York Times and ProPublica. Seely was the 2010 recipient of the American Chemical Society’s national science writing award, the prestigious James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award. In 2008, he won the Inland Press Association Award for investigative reporting for the series on problems at the Madison Water Utility. And he is a three-time winner of the Wisconsin Press Association’s award for environmental reporting. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.
Tegan Wendland, reporter
email@example.com Wendland joined the staff in the fall of 2012 while working towards an M.S. in Life Sciences Communication. After completing an internship at Wisconsin Public Radio’s Superior bureau during her final semester at UW-Superior in 2008, Wendland pursued her passion for news reporting and public radio. She has worked and volunteered for numerous NPR affiliates, including WVIK in Rock Island, Illinois and WRKF in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she discovered her interest in environmental reporting. Wendland has produced countless local and statewide radio news spots and features, and has contributed to NPR Newscast, Weekend Edition and the BBC.
Alison Dirr, reporter
Alison Dirr joined the Center in the summer of 2013 as a reporting intern after graduating in May from UW-Madison with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science. Before interning at the Center, the Minneapolis native spent three summers in the Minnesota Public Radio newsroom. Her work has also appeared in the Daily Cardinal, Madison Commons, Curb magazine and the Aberdeen American News in Aberdeen, S.D.
Nora Hertel, reporter
Nora G. Hertel joined the Center as an intern in summer 2013, after completing her master’s degree from the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She served as the managing editor for MadisonCommons.org and published works with Isthmus as both an intern and freelancer. Her work has also appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal and The Country Today. She enjoys producing audio and video reports as well. Her short documentary on female boxer Andrea Nelson won an award from the Wisconsin Union Directorate. Before entering the field of journalism, Hertel received a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University with majors in music and French.
Matt Barnidge, reporter
Matt Barnidge joined the staff in 2013 as a summer intern. He is a third-year doctoral student and teaching assistant at the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a focus on how social influence in digital media affects message perception and behavior. Before moving to Madison, he completed a master’s degree in Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, where he worked as an investigative reporting intern for the Civil Rights Cold Case project and as a student reporter for the Daily Reveille. Barnidge’s work has appeared in the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Concordia Sentinel, and the Houma Courier, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Rory Linnane, reporter
Linnane, a senior at UW-Madison majoring in journalism and international studies, joined the Center in fall 2012. Before joining the Center, she wrote for Patch.com sites in the Milwaukee area for a year. She has also written for Madison Magazine, The Daily Cardinal, Madison Commons, and other media outlets.
Kate Prengaman, reporter
Prengaman joined the Center as a summer intern in 2012. She is a student in the UW-Madison professional track masters program, focusing on science and environmental journalism. Before moving to Madison, she worked as a field biologist in Florida, Alaska, and Nevada. Prengaman has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science from the College of William and Mary, where she also wrote an award-winning sex column. Her work has appeared in Discovery News, Draft Magazine, and the Wisconsin State Journal.
Mario Koran, reporter
Koran joined the Center in 2012 as a summer reporting intern. He is a student in the UW-Madison professional track masters program. Since 2005, when he graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature, he has served in the U.S. Army and taught American literature at a high school for at-risk youth. Through journalism, Koran has explored issues relating to veterans, criminal justice, racial disparities and poverty. His work has appeared in Madison Commons; Scene Newspaper; The Pointer, the UW-Stevens Point student newspaper; and La Comunidad, a Spanish-language newspaper in Madison.
Sarah Karon, reporter
Karon joined the Center in summer 2011, shortly after receiving her M.A. in journalism from UW-Madison. She also holds an M.F.A. in English from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a B.A. in American Studies from Scripps College. Karon’s report on post-9/11 emergency response in Wisconsin, published in September 2011, was part of a three-part series that won the Gold Prize for Best Background, Analytical or Interpretive Story from the Milwaukee Press Club. Her work has appeared in newspapers throughout Wisconsin and she has written for 77 Square, Isthmus, Madison Magazine, San Francisco magazine, Wisconsin Public Television and other media outlets.
Amy Karon, reporter
Karon joined the Center in spring 2011 as a professional-track journalism master’s student. She worked as the public investigator intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in summer 2011, and re-joined the Center’s staff that fall. Karon holds graduate degrees in public health and veterinary medicine, and spent three years investigating disease outbreaks for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. She has contributed to Medical Daily, the literary nonfiction journal Corkboard, and the Bryn Mawr College News. Her blog on mental illness combines scientific research with perspectives from patients and their families.
Lukas Keapproth, visual journalist
Keapproth is a senior majoring in journalism and history at UW-Madison. He began his career in photojournalism working for two years as photo editor of The Badger Herald before taking a photojournalism internship at The Janesville Gazette. Keapproth’s work has appeared in Time Magazine, Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Madison Magazine and The Huffington Post. His work has been nationally recognized by the Associated Collegiate Press, Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Photographers Association. Additionally, in 2010 he was named College Photographer of the Year by the Wisconsin News Photographers Association. Keapproth, a Wisconsin native, also does freelance photography through his company, Red Wave Pictures.
Julie Strupp, reporter
Strupp graduated from the UW-Madison in 2011, focusing upon journalism, international studies, and African studies. She joined the Center in spring 2011. She got into journalism covering city news for the Badger Herald, an independent student newspaper at UW-Madison, in 2008. Strupp, an African Outreach Scholar at UW, studied in Senegal in 2010.
Jason Smathers, reporter
Smathers, a journalism master’s student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joined the Center in summer 2011. He spent four years at The Badger Herald, UW-Madison’s independent newspaper, where he served as the editor in chief. He covered the 2008 Republican National Convention and the youth beat of the 2008 presidential election for UWIRE, and has reported for The Capital Times and The Janesville Gazette. In 2011, Smathers covered the Wisconsin labor protests and recall elections for the Associated Press.
Tempus started out in journalism covering small town stories on the edge of the deep northwoods as a reporter and photographer at the daily Shawano Leader newspaper in Shawano, Wisconsin. After four years with the Leader, Tempus joined The Badger Herald at UW-Madison, serving as its Assistant News Editor in spring 2010. In May 2010, she interned at the Center, and later worked at Corkboard, an online literary journalism magazine. She graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in journalism.
Before joining the Center in fall 2009, Jerving was a reporter intern for the Associated Press in Brussels, Belgium, covering the European Union. She also interned as a reporter for a community radio station in Nairobi, Kenya. Jerving co-founded and was director of communications for Project 40/40, a campus organization that raises money for AIDS treatment in Uganda. She has written for both the Daily Cardinal and Badger Herald. Jerving graduated from UW-Madison with degrees in journalism and international studies and a certificate in African studies.
Penzenstadler joined the Center as a summer reporting intern after first participating in 2009’s Dane countywide probe into health care along with Hall and a UW-Madison reporting class. He worked as an editor for The Badger Herald student newspaper at UW, and served as publisher. Penzenstadler has written at the Isthmus in Madison and worked with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s award winning watchdog team in 2009. There, he worked on the Public Investigator series and led reporting on Mayor (and gubernatorial candidate) Tom Barrett’s beating. He graduated from UW-Madison with degrees in journalism and political science.
Jacob Kushner, reporter
Kushner’s experience includes a six-month investigation that revealed discrimination against Haitians in the Dominican Republic is rooted in the country’s education system. He was an reporter intern for the Center in summer and fall 2009. Kushner has written for the Wisconsin State Journal and the Daily Cardinal student newspaper at the UW-Madison. In 2008, Kushner served as writer and later news editor for La Comunidad News, a Spanish-language newspaper in Madison. He graduated from the UW-Madison with degrees in journalism and Latin American studies.
Cliff Miller, reporter
Miller has come out of retirement to volunteer for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism to keep an eye on state government. Miller covered the Legislature and governor’s office for 27 years for the Appleton Post-Crescent before retiring in 2001. He is a 1962 graduate of the UW-Madison’s journalism school.
Morrell has reported for the Wisconsin State Journal and the Daily Cardinal student newspaper at the UW-Madison, for which he has served as editor-in-chief for the past year. He graduated in May from UW-Madison with a degree in journalism. Morrell was a reporter intern for the Center in summer 2009.
Continuing her investigative work that’s appeared in all forms of media, from radio and TV to print and online, Pease focuses upon discovering Wisconsin stories in data. Pease, who worked full-time for the Center in 2009, continues to serve as a data analyst on a part-time basis, juggling her time as a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio’s Kathleen Dunn Show. Pease also has produced journalism at KBIA 91.3 FM in Columbia, Missouri, and as a data analyst for Investigative Reporters and Editors. Pease holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism in broadcast news and a master’s degree in journalism in in-depth public affairs reporting, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Erica Salkin, copy editor and education coordinator
Salkin is a doctoral student at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include legal issues of academic speech and student media. Prior to returning to graduate study, she worked as a writer and editor in health care communications as well as student services and advising. At the Center, Salkin worked as a copyeditor and created educational components to add to the Center’s future services.
David Stoeffler, consultant
Stoeffler, owner of Touchstone News Consulting, served the Center as a consultant on organization, fund-raising, management, Web site development, editing and other duties. He is a former vice president for news of Lee Enterprises and frequent speaker at news industry events. A native of southwestern Wisconsin, Stoeffler was a reporter and later city editor at the Wisconsin State Journal, where he led investigative and project reporting. He went on to be editor of the La Crosse (Wis.) Tribune and Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star before moving to Lee’s corporate office in 2001 as the first vice president for news. He later served in several executive roles, as publisher/editor of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and as general manager of the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He has been an active member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the American Society of News Editors.
- Abby Riese, Web producer and reporter
- Lexie Clinton, reporter intern, summer 2009
- Robert Gutsche Jr., interns director and reporter, summer 2009