Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council names ‘Opee’ winners

Gov. Scott Walker, several journalists and a courageous private-sector employee are among those honored by the 2017-18 Openness Awards, or Opees, bestowed annually by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. The state Legislature, meanwhile, is being singled out for negative recognition. The awards, which are being announced today in advance of national Sunshine Week, March 11-17, recognize extraordinary achievement in the arena of open government. This is the 12th consecutive year that awards have been given. “For more than a decade, the Opees have served to remind state residents that open government is a perpetual struggle, with heroes and villains,” said Bill Lueders, council president.

A Top 10 list that’s all Wisconsin

We took a deep dive into our archives to rank the top 10 stories we’ve ever published — a fitting way, we believe, to celebrate the dawn of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s 10th year of operations, which begins this month! These investigative reports provided insights into issues shaping Wisconsin, as residents’ lives were roiled, and sometimes uplifted, by political, social and economic forces. Read the countdown below and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to have the Center’s new reports sent straight to your inbox. 10. State passes up federal disabilities aid for jobless, despite backlogs
By Tegan Wendland, July 14, 2013

In this story, WCIJ found that Wisconsin was forfeiting $14.2 million in federal funds for job training for the disabled, which meant that thousands of people with disabilities faced long waiting lists to access state employment resources. After we reported the story, Gov. Scott Walker reversed his stance and accepted the money, wiping out a waiting list and allowing thousands of people to get to work. 9. Lost signals, disconnected lives

By Mario Koran, March 24, 2013

This investigation explored GPS monitoring of offenders in Wisconsin.