What we do

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 Alexandra Arriaga interviews the family of Cesar DeLeon, a Wisconsin inmate who is being held in long-term solitary confinement.

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

Collaboration is the key.

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 Center’s 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.

How we work

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 works by:

  • Producing 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.
  • Educating and training high school and college students and working journalists in investigative reporting techniques, including through guest lecturing and teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Offering paid reporting and public engagement and marketing internships to UW-Madison students, who work in a professional capacity for the Center.
  • Partnering with Wisconsin Public Radio on their Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Reporting Fellowship to train an early career radio reporter in investigative reporting techniques.
  • Hosting fellows from other journalism programs, including the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program and The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia University.
  • Helping commercial news outlets, including ethnic media, pursue their own investigations or produce joint projects.
  • Publishing and distributing investigative reports and offering a forum for sharing investigative findings, story tips and moderated discussions.

Our structure

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

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, exploring such issues as: the growing reliance on immigrants by the state’s dairy industry — published in both Spanish and English; 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; the underreporting of sexual assaults on Wisconsin campuses; the flaws in Wisconsin’s GPS monitoring program; dwindling protections and incentives for whistleblowers; and the state of Wisconsin’s democracy.

Our reach

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.

Read about the way our work is having an impact, and testimonials from our partners, supporters and former interns.