What we do

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, WisconsinWatch.org, is a nonprofit and nonpartisan center based in Madison, Wis.

Collaboration is the key.

Clockwise from left, Dee J. Hall interviews Alan Schultz during a rally against long-term solitary confinement; Alexandra Hall interviews a Mexican worker on the Rosenholm farm in Cochrane, Wisconsin; Coburn Dukehart takes a self-portrait while on assignment; and Alex Arriaga interviews the family of Cesar DeLeon, a Wisconsin inmate who is being held in long-term solitary confinement.

Our mission:

To increase the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy.

Our values:

The Center values truth and pursues it through accurate, fair, independent, rigorous and nonpartisan reporting. We also value transparency, collaboration, innovation and a spirit of public service. These values guide the Center¹s training of journalists and its investigations, which seek to protect the interests of people in vulnerable circumstances, expose wrongdoing and deficiencies in systems, and explore solutions to problems.

Our guiding principles:

Protect the vulnerable. Expose wrongdoing. Explore solutions.

The Center is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by a professional staff under the guidance of a nationally noted board of directors. The Center collaborates with, but is independent of, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication, where it is housed; Wisconsin Public Radio; and Wisconsin Public Television — and with mainstream and ethnic news media across the nation. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the University of Wisconsin-Madison or any of its affiliates.

The Center is a founding member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, formerly the Investigative News Network, the first network of nonprofit journalism organizations that conduct investigative reporting in the public interest.

The Center is a national leader in promoting journalistic ethics and financial transparency standards.

Our focus is on government integrity and quality of life issues. Since its launch in January 2009, the award-winning Center has distributed nearly 300 major reports, including: A multi-part series in Spanish and English on the growing reliance on immigrants by the state’s dairy industry; questions about a high-speed rail line that was Wisconsin’s biggest proposed stimulus project; barriers to treatment for mothers suffering from perinatal depression; the rising numbers of low-income students in Wisconsin schools; the role of DNA testing in proving the innocence of a dozen Wisconsin prisoners; Wisconsin’s troubling increases in suicides; and the underreporting of sexual assaults on Wisconsin campuses.

Many of the Center’s reports are produced in collaboration with other news organizations in Wisconsin and nationwide. The reports have been cited, published or broadcast by more more than 500 news organizations including Wisconsin Public Radio, The New York Times, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, HuffPost, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Oshkosh Northwestern, La Crosse Tribune, Eau Claire Leader Telegram, The Country Today, WBAY-ABC in Green Bay, Hudson Star-Observer, Janesville Gazette, La Comunidad and WisPolitics.com. The Center’s reports have reached an estimated audience of more than 56 million.

To fulfill its mission, the Center combines innovative technology with time-tested journalistic techniques to increase the transparency of official actions, intensify the search for solutions to governmental and societal problems, strengthen democracy and raise the quality of investigative journalism.

The Center:

  • Produces investigative reports independently and in partnership with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, and other for-profit and nonprofit news organizations including members of the Institute for Nonprofit News.
  • Educates and trains high school and college students and working journalists in investigative reporting techniques.
  • Helps commercial news outlets, including ethnic media, pursue their own investigations or produce joint projects.
  • Publishes investigative reports and offers a forum for sharing investigative findings, story tips and moderated discussions.

Listen to managing editor Dee J. Hall speak with WORT host Patty Peltekos about the role of reporting in Wisconsin, the most important stories of 2017, and what stories to follow into 2018.

Read what editors from around Wisconsin say about the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism:

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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 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

See more on our Testimonials page.