Who We Are
Reliable information that holds the powerful accountable is essential to our democracy. But investigative journalism is at risk: News organizations are cutting staffs as traditional sources of revenue decline. Launched in 2009, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is countering those problems with its replicable, collaborative nonprofit model.
The Center increases the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy. A nonpartisan news organization, it focuses on government integrity and quality of life issues including the environment, economy, justice system, education and health.
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.
Since July 2009, the award-winning Center has produced more than 350 major news reports that have been published on WisconsinWatch.org and cited, published or broadcast by more than 750 newspapers, radio and TV stations and news websites in Wisconsin and nationwide. The estimated audience of the Center’s reports exceeds 72 million people.
We seek to collaborate with, rather than compete against, other news organizations to maximize the use of resources. Reports are fact-checked to ensure accuracy and distributed free to news organizations, who are permitted to edit the stories or add their own reporting to meet the needs of their audiences.
The Center is an important training ground for current and future generations of investigative journalists. More than 40 students have served paid internships or fellowships with the Center, as investigative reporters or public engagement and marketing assistants. We collaborate with the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where we are housed, collaborating with students in classrooms and offering our expertise through guest lectures and teaching investigative reporting courses.
The Center is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by a professional staff under the guidance of a nationally noted board of directors. In addition to the journalism school, it collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and mainstream and ethnic news organizations nationwide.
We are primarily funded through grants from foundations, and donations from individuals and corporations. Additional revenue is obtained through sponsorships of events and activities, and from earned income — payments for providing services such as fact-checking, collaborating with students or producing investigative journalism projects.
If you are interested in making a gift to the Center, please visit wisconsinwatch.org/donate.
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