Testimonials from journalists, educators and the public

For the 10th anniversary of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, we asked former interns and fellows to reflect on what the Center has meant to them and their careers. Watch the video above to hear their stories from all over the globe.

“Wanted: A few kind words.”

With that email subject line, we reached out in December 2013 to journalists, journalism educators and the public, asking: “Would you be willing to write a sentence or so about the value of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s work?”

We’re honored to share their messages with you.

We welcome further statements, as well as suggestions and of course financial support to sustain the Center’s journalism and training of current and future investigative journalists!

Emails may be sent to Executive Director Andy Hall at: ahall@wisconsinwatch.org

To give, please visit our Donations page.

Below, read and watch testimonials that have rolled in from journalists, educators, the public and our former interns.


Posted Feb. 18, 2014: Former intern Alec Luhn sent in a video testimonial — from the men’s halfpipe final at the Sochi Olympics!

Posted Dec. 31, 2013: Two of our amazing former interns sent in video testimonials about how much their Center experiences meant to them.

Here’s Jacob Kushner — squeezed into a train car in Kenya.

And Lukas Keapproth shared this video from a snowy Lambeau Field.

I am so pleased the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism continues its outstanding work within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. My students have served as interns with WCIJ, and we are looking forward to an exciting upcoming project that may weave more courses into the center’s work. I’m proud of my association with them and their contributions to journalism in this state.

Katy Culver
Assistant Professor
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Associate Director
Center for Journalism Ethics
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted Dec. 30, 2013: The powerful, insightful and carefully researched special reports managed by Andy Hall and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism continue to generate buzz and spur meaningful policy reform across our state. The Center’s reports have exposed various harmful chemicals and pollutants that affect our water quality and our way of life. Other reports uncover questionable legislative action from our state’s Capitol. The regular Bill Lueders Money and Politics columns are a must-read for thousands of Wisconsinites.

John Ferak
Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team Editor, The Post-Crescent Media

Posted Dec. 29, 2013: WCIJ is a bright light in an increasingly opaque landscape, where we no longer have enough journalists to illuminate the murky corners of our society. We NEED this type of surveillance to maintain as transparent a culture as possible.

Sharon Dunwoody
Evjue Bascom Professor Emerita
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted Dec. 28, 2013: As someone who grew up in Wisconsin, I appreciate how WCIJ’s fine work keeps me connected to the land of corn and cheese — but more importantly, as a journalist I respect their unwavering commitment to telling the whole story. WisconsinWatch.org is setting the standard in quality coverage of government and public policy. While too many in the media vie for attention with overblown commentary, the nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism gets noticed for solid work that gets the story right.

Dylan Smith
Editor & Publisher, TucsonSentinel.com
Chairman, Local Independent Online News Publishers

Posted Dec. 27, 2013: There is very little investigative journalism in the press. WCIJ trains folks to become a new generation of journalists who resist just regurgitating ads or reprinting AP articles or relying on infotainment in the place of news. Without places like WCIJ our hope for a critically thinking press would be just a pipe dream.

Kris Doan
Embarrass, Wis.

Posted Dec. 26, 2013: WisconsinWatch.org is doing very important and innovative work. We need organizations such as these to step into the challenge of doing great journalism in new ways.

Joaquin Alvarado
Chief Strategy and Operations Officer
Center for Investigative Reporting, Berkeley, Calif.

Posted Dec. 25, 2013: Very few organizations today produce the quality and insightful journalism the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism produces. It’s imperative that we continue support and promote their work.

Dante Viscarra
La Comunidad News, Madison

Posted Dec. 24, 2013: When it comes to good journalism, there can’t be too much of it. As journalists and citizens, we are extremely fortunate to have the WCIJ as a news force dedicated solely to investigating matters of high public interest. That they share their work for free with news organizations throughout the state and country makes them even more of a resource to value and support.

Dan Simmons
Wisconsin State Journal, Madison

Thank you for being there to help in the Sisyphean task of providing the news on a budget!

Jim Lundstrom
Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living

Posted Dec. 23, 2013: Independent investigative reporting is absolutely essential for a free society. Information and critical thinking must be preserved.

Rosemary Zurlo-Cuva
Writer, poet, journalist, writing coach

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism produces accurate, timely work that aids local newspapers who do not have the time and staff to probe some complicated issues in their communities. Our experience working with the Center was very positive when it did an investigative piece on foreign student workers in the community.

Kay James
Wisconsin Dells Events

Posted Dec. 22, 2013: I’ve worked with Andy Hall and the staff at WCIJ ever since WCIJ began operating out of our School of Journalism & Mass Communication. My students — both undergraduate and graduate — finish internships there and emerge professional-level journalists. The Center’s important work represents the ideal journalism we teach at the School. As a former journalist, as a professor of journalism students, and as a citizen, I feel grateful for the Center’s existence every time I come across another of its thorough, relevant, accurate, and well-written projects.

Sue Robinson
Associate Professor
Director of the MA Professional Journalism Program
School of Journalism & Mass Communication
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Our twice-weekly Plymouth Review was pleased to this week use the follow-up story on how Wisconsin has finally agreed to accept federal dollars to assist people with disabilities find work. We had run the original story of that aid being denied. It’s just one of many examples of how the Center helps keep us relevant.

Barry Johanson
Plymouth Review

Posted Dec. 21, 2013: To be sure, the Center has brought to light numerous issues of major importance to the public. But it has done more. It stands as proof that an independent, nonprofit model of doing journalism can succeed, serve as an invaluable learning laboratory for journalism students, and provide a model for how challenging and sometimes controversial work can be done with the highest of ethical standards.

Robert Drechsel
Center for Journalism Ethics.
Burgess Chair in Journalism Ethics
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Wisconsin-Madison

The preamble to the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics:
“…public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.”

This is the very definition of how I feel about the continuing work of WCIJ in Madison, WI. If they have reported on it, I know it to be a true, thorough and accurate account of the story.

WCIJ holds my trust.

Robyn Shingler
Shawano, Wis.

Posted Dec. 20, 2013: The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is one of the most exciting experiments going on the United States, on the restructuring of journalism practices as they seek to adapt to an emerging media ecology. Beyond being a fabulous training venue for UW-Madison students, the Center may provide a model to expand public affairs journalism, in an era of scarce resources and great need for independent investigative reporting.

Hernando Rojas
Associate Professor
School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program, UW-Madison
Associate Director, Center for Communication & Democracy, UW-Madison
Director, Center for Political Communication Research, Colombia
Associate, Singapore Internet Research Center

In the work we do together, we advance the Wisconsin Idea, or “the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom.”

Greg Downey
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism serves a significant role in Wisconsin media, providing readers and other media outlets with stories that are thorough, accurate and impactful on a variety of complex issues. WCIJ also provides valuable educational experience for UW-Madison journalism students either through their internship program or their partnership with professors in the classroom.

Lukas Keapproth
Green Bay Press Gazette
Former Visual Journalist Intern, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Posted Dec. 19, 2013: As the Operations Manager and Local Talk Show host of a talk radio station, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism provides some of the best, nonpartisan reporting on state issues available. In an ever-changing media landscape, investigative reporting and in-depth research is becoming harder to find, making the traditional values of journalism exhibited by the WCIJ that much more critical to good reporting on events by media outlets. I value the partnership greatly as a part of our operations.

Timothy W. Bremel
Host of “Your Talk Show” on WCLO
WCLO/WJVL Operations Manager, Janesville

Now more than ever, with print and electronic newsrooms decimated after years of layoffs and downsizings, the work done by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is critical, providing the kind of news which is often hard to come by in local media. Often, the experienced newsroom professionals who mentored younger reporters are no longer there. The work the WCIJ does to develop young reporters is key to maintaining a high standard of journalism and flow of information to the public. The stories the WCIJ has developed over the past few years illustrate the importance of ferreting out the “story behind the story” and getting the unvarnished facts to the public.

Tim Morrissey
Public News Service Writer/Producer
Wisconsin News Connection

Posted Dec. 18, 2013: The work performed by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism would have pleased the namesake of the Evjue Foundation, William T. Evjue, the late founder and longtime editor and publisher of The Capital Times. No one was a bigger advocate of the watchdog role that an effective press must play if America’s democracy is to work effectively. In a time of limited resources and changing roles in the news industry, the WCIJ has stepped in to maintain that crucial watchdog role. In the name of its founder, the Evjue Foundation is pleased to help.

Dave Zweifel
Evjue Foundation board member
Editor Emeritus
The Capital Times, Madison

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is an invaluable resource for the state. In an era of shrinking newsroom budgets, they tell important stories that wouldn’t otherwise be told. Their reporting is thorough, accurate, and incisive.

Keep up the good work!

Dean Robbins
Isthmus, Madison

Posted Dec. 17, 2013: The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is a crucial resource for newspapers throughout the state. In a down economy when layoffs are taking place and staff responsibilities are being overloaded, it is incredibly appreciated to have a responsible, reliable, and thorough news source there to be your sideline reporters. Their writings improve the content and quality of our products, and we cannot give enough praise to this awesome, worthwhile collaboration!

Tricia Rose
Clintonville Chronicle
Manawa Messenger
Iola Independent
Trucker Times

With the state’s major newspapers cutting back in staff over the past decade, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has filled an important niche in covering statewide issues that otherwise would receive little or no attention.

Jeff Seering
Reedsburg Independent

Posted Dec. 16, 2013: As I have written in my capacity as a journalism educator at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, “journalism has changed radically in the early 21st century, but there will always be a need for the journalist who pursues the best obtainable version of the truth and tells a compelling story.” The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism provides clear, in-depth explanations of how government works and of the influences from the private sector that result in policies and actions the public needs to understand. The Center’s work will become even more important as the media struggle to develop a viable business model to support proficient and ethical journalism.

Arthur L. Ranney
Chair, Department of Media Studies
Chair, UUCC
Advisor, Exponent
Advisor, WSUP-FM
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism helps to serve an important need in today’s fast-paced world of news and information gathering. All too often, journalists of today are focused on “getting it first, rather than getting it right.” The core values and the strong educational mission of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism serve both a public interest (in reporting on important stories) and an even more noble value — insuring that today’s young journalists are properly taught how to research, analyze data and create important and interesting long format pieces. The Center is a shining star in the Wisconsin journalism community.

Judy Frankel
Judge, Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics
Director, Madison Writer’s Network

Posted Dec. 15, 2013: The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is fast becoming one of our most treasured resources. The depth and quality of the Center’s research and its willingness to work collaboratively with community journalists make it invaluable. Simply put, our readers are more well informed – on issues ranging from tax increment financing to pesticide drift – because of it.

Matt Geiger
Middleton Times-Tribune and Mount Horeb Mail

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is an invaluable tool for newspapers and other media across the state. For example, its forays into the world of sand mining give important and balanced perspective for people – like those in Trempealeau and Jackson counties, where we are – who are on the front lines of the industrial sand industry and the continuing debate surrounding the extraction, processing, shipping and use of this product.

Lee Henschel
The Blair Press

I am in awe of the work the Center does. Their articles are the kind of thing we would all like to do more of, if we had the time. So, the Center deserves many kudos for its efforts to keep print journalism alive and well in Wisconsin.

Kevin O’Brien
Tribune-Phonograph, Abbotsford

Posted Dec. 14, 2013: The Capital Times hugely values the contribution made by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, both for its timely and concisely reported work that helps shape the state’s journalistic landscape and for helping prepare the next generation of reporters. That’s why our charitable arm, The Evjue Foundation, is a strong supporter and why our newsroom values the Center’s work and our relationship with its staff.

Paul Fanlund
The Capital Times, Madison

WCIJ offers an important public service by bringing to light issues that are buried or overlooked. Intelligence and integrity are cornerstone’s of the Center’s work. And it’s an honor to be a part of the WCIJ team.

Nora G. Hertel
Investigative Reporting Intern
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Posted Dec. 13, 2013: Wisconsin benefits immensely from the work of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. In addition to fostering a spot for high-caliber investigative journalists to tell important stories from around the state, the Center’s dedication to training and developing reporters for the future is an incredibly important job. And they do it extremely well.

Ellen Gabler
Investigative Reporter and Assistant Editor
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism provides in-depth investigative stories informing readers on issues as varied as herbicide drift to electrical use at state park campgrounds. Work done by those at the Center is objective and impartial. It adheres to the highest standards in journalism. The Center’s role, educating and training journalists to serve as watchdogs for the public, is critical in a fluid, evolving era of new technologies. The Center provides Wisconsin’s weekly newspapers with quality content, often local in origin, which is beyond the scope of coverage that could be provided by community journalists busy with other work.

Matt Johnson
Managing Editor
Vernon County Broadcaster
River Valley Newspaper Group

The work done by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has been a great addition to our newspaper, providing in-depth coverage of topics not only important to our community but to our state. When possible, we localize their work, providing even more relevant coverage for our readers. The accuracy and thoroughness of the Center’s work is top-notch.

Chris Hardie
Executive Editor/Weekly Newspaper and Shoppers Publisher
River Valley Newspapers, La Crosse
La Crosse Tribune · Winona Daily News · Vernon County Broadcaster · Westby Times · Coulee News · Tomah Journal and Tomah Monitor-Herald · Holmen/Onalaska Courier Life · Houston County News ·Jackson County Chronicle · Tri-County Foxxy Shoppers

Posted Dec. 12, 2013: We have published content produced by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism on a number of occasions. Count us as fans. The Center’s work is solid, thorough and trustworthy. In these often challenging times for newspapers, the Center brings a dimension to our product that otherwise we would be hard-pressed to present. The WCIJ news team writes about topics that are timely and important to the public discussion in Wisconsin. By offering the content to news organizations across the state the Center clearly serves the public interest. This kind of partnership is forward-looking and crucial to maintaining a vibrant, effective environment for Wisconsin journalism.

William R. Barth
Beloit Daily News

The Wisconsin for Investigative Journalism is a vital addition to the media scene in this state. They’ve done first-rate investigative stories on a variety of topics and their columnist Bill Lueders is a veteran observer of state politics whose columns are a must-read. We have run many of their stories and columns and they are definitely of interest to our readers.

Bruce Murphy

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, as it states in its mission, does successfully increase the quality and quantity of investigative journalism in the state of Wisconsin. As a student journalist at UW-Madison, the WCIJ is a model publication to look to and learn from. I appreciate that the Center also believes in an educational mission and continues to offer investigative journalism internships for UW-Madison students.

Abigail Becker
The Daily Cardinal, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted Dec. 11, 2013: The WCIJ takes a hard look at issues and programs that affect state residents and otherwise may not get attention beyond uninformed speculation on the part of the public and government officials. The Center’s work goes beyond the policy statements and general opinions about a program or agency, public or private, and sheds fair light on potential problems that need solutions. Those ultimately responsible for making things work in Wisconsin sometimes need a nudge in that direction, and the Center helps get the process, along with the dialogue, moving through its reporting.

Dan Roherty
Print operations editor
Post-Crescent Media, Appleton

Posted Dec. 10, 2013:The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism provides on a consistent basis content that is timely, balanced and relevant. Their content allows me to give my readers in depth coverage of regional and statewide issues that I could not get anywhere else. They are a wonderful addition to my paper.

Tom Stangl
Editor and Publisher
Amery Free Press

We all should be supporting WisconsinWatch.org.

Walt Bogdanich
Investigative Reporter and Editor
The New York Times
UW-Madison graduate, three-time Pulitzer winner, donor to Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

As a twice-weekly publication, we don’t always have the space to run WCIJ’s stories as often as we’d like. But whenever we do, we inevitably hear people in the community talking about them — and even debating the issues raised. I think that means that your journalists are doing a bang-up job of providing us with well-rounded articles that both make us think and initiate good discussions.

Barbara Lyon
Dunn County News

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has tackled issues important to Daily Citizen readers as well as citizens across Wisconsin. In an age of limited resources for newspapers, the contributions from WCIJ have made a significant difference in the quality of information we have been able to provide.

Aaron Holbrook
Daily Citizen, Beaver Dam