Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism wins 15 Milwaukee Press Club awards for 2018 work

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Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Eve Clark, 10, is nuzzled by a calf during feeding time at Vision-Aire Farms. Also pictured is her cousin, Addison Grade, 7. Eve, along with her siblings and cousins, regularly take care of the animals and other chores around the farm. This photo won an award from the Milwaukee Press Club for Best Feature Photograph.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism won 15 honors from the Milwaukee Press Club’s 2018 Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism contest for stories, photographs, audio reports and a documentary, the club announced Tuesday.

Some of the awards were won in conjunction with University of Wisconsin-Madison students or Wisconsin Public Radio, which works closely with the Center to produce in-depth online and audio news reports. Winners of the first, second and third place awards will be announced at the annual Gridiron Dinner in Milwaukee on May 10.

Since its founding in 2009, the Center has won 77 honors from the Milwaukee Press Club, which runs Wisconsin’s premiere all-media journalism contest.

“We are thrilled by the recognition of our work. The key to our success is collaboration with UW-Madison students and media partners including Wisconsin Public Radio,” said Executive Director Andy Hall, who co-founded the independent nonprofit and nonpartisan Center with Managing Editor Dee J. Hall.

“We especially thank the foundations and individuals who donate to the Center because they care deeply about the future of Wisconsin, journalism and training the next generation of investigative reporters.”

The Center earned finalist awards in the following categories:

Best Investigative Story or Series: The Countering Concussions series explored the impact of brain injuries in sports. Reporters Luke Schaetzel and Emily Hamer, Digital and Multimedia Director Coburn Dukehart, photographer Brad Horn and Managing Editor Dee J. Hall contributed to the series.

Brad Horn / For the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Wisconsin Badgers fullback Austin Ramesh, No. 20, piles on top of other players as Wisconsin attempts to push through the Iowa defense for a touchdown Nov. 11, 2017. The previous week, Ramesh sat out a game because of a concussion. In May 2018, Ramesh walked away from his shot at making it onto the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals because of continuing post-concussion symptoms. This photo was part of a series that won an award from the Milwaukee Press Club for Best Investigative Story or Series.

Best Public Service Story or Series: Our series on the potential vulnerabilities in Wisconsin’s election system was reported by Grigor Atanesian with photographs by Dukehart and editing and reporting assistance from Hall.

Best Explanatory Story or Series and Best Short Hard Feature Story (audio): Wisconsin Public Radio’s Rich Kremer worked with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism to produce online and audio stories exposing gaps in the state’s efforts to curb chronic wasting disease.

Best Consumer Story or Series: Reporter Peter Coutu revealed the suspicious circumstances surrounding some repeat winners of the Wisconsin Lottery.

Best Photo Essay or Series: Dukehart and Hamer teamed up to photograph December’s extraordinary” lame duck session of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Best News Photograph: Hamer’s photograph features hands of protesters pressed against the glass of the hearing door as lawmakers debate controversial measures during the Legislature’s controversial session in December.

Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

During the public hearing on the lame-duck bills Dec. 3, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, members of the public bang on the doors and chant to be let into the hearing room. Police secured the doors, trying to control the crowd. This photo won an award from the Milwaukee Press Club for Best News Photograph.

Best Feature Photograph: Dukehart’s image, “Kissed by a calf,” captures a light-hearted moment during a day in the life of a Wisconsin dairy farm.

Best Long Hard Feature Story (audio) and Best Explanatory Story or Series (online): Wisconsin Public Radio’s Alexandra Hall, in partnership with the Center, explored the sometimes contentious role of so-called independent medical examiners in the state worker’s compensation system.

Best Documentary: Dukehart and Andy Hall from the Center, WPR’s Alexandra Hall, in partnership with Jim Cricchi and Susan Peters of Twelve Letter Films, explored the challenges for undocumented dairy workers and farmers under President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies in “Los Lecheros” (Dairy Farmers).

Best Use of Multi-Platform Reporting: The story, told online and in audio, revealed that state regulators skirted environmental rules in approving a controversial golf course along Lake Michigan. The story was reported by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Sarah Whites-Koditschek with photographs by Dukehart.

Best Business Story or Series (online): The Center’s Belle Lin teamed up with Chicago Sun-Times reporter Alexandra Arriaga (a former Center intern) to expose a network of labor agencies that send undocumented Latinos to Asian restaurants across the Midwest, where they are often underpaid and overworked.

Alexandria Arriaga / Chicago Sun-Times

A Latino employee takes a break from mopping the floor at a Chinese restaurant near Waukegan, Illinois. He says managers treat the employees well and offer them a decent place to stay, but do not pay workers overtime or the minimum wage. This photo was part of the story that won an award for Best Business Story or Series (online).

Best Investigative Story or Series (online): In Losing Track, the Center’s Riley Vetterkind exposed false alerts in Wisconsin’s GPS monitoring system that land offenders in jail when their equipment malfunctions. Dukehart contributed photos to the series.

Best Public Service Story or Series (online): Reporter Dee J. Hall revealed questions about the effectiveness of Wisconsin’s work requirement for FoodShare recipients. Dukehart produced photos for the story.

The Center also contributed to Madison Magazine’s finalist in the public service category. The story, written by Maggie Ginsburg with contributions from Dee J. Hall and Coburn Dukehart, explores why sexual assault numbers on campus vastly understate the problem.

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