2016 Conference

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Each fall, the Diederich College of Communication convenes a conference that presents the work and research done by our O’Brien Fellows and associated students during the previous academic year at Marquette University. The 2016 O’Brien Fellowship conference will feature the work of our 2015–16 O’Brien Fellows: Justin George of The Baltimore Sun, Liz Navratil of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, independent journalist Miranda Spivack, and Dave Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

George used his fellowship to focus on homicides across the United States. Navratil investigated why it is that probation and parole officials lose track of fugitives. Spivack spent her year delving into various state open-government laws and practices. Umhoefer looked back on the impact of Act 10 on public education in Wisconsin. Our faculty and staff are especially delighted that several Marquette undergraduate and graduate students contributed to the fellows’ work.

The 2016 conference convened people affected by or responsible for the systems and policies related to these vital public matters in an attempt to consider implications and/or solutions.


Thursday, Oct. 13

4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Session I – Marquette University and the Pulitzer Prizes
4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.

Moderator: Elizabeth Baker, senior journalism and Spanish major, Diederich College of Communication

Invited participants:

James T. Areddy, Bus Ad ’85, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in 2007
Margo Huston, Jour ’65, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in 1977
George Lardner Jr., Jour ’56, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in 1993
John Machacek, Jour ’62, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in 1972

Session II – The Pulitzer Prizes: Celebrating 100 Years of Excellence
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Moderator: Herbert Lowe, Jour ’84, professional in residence and director of the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism, Diederich College of Communication


Jacqui Banaszynski, Jour ’74, Knight Chair in Journalism, Missouri School of Journalism
Hal Bernton, 2013-14 O’Brien Fellow; investigative reporter, The Seattle Times
Greg Borowski, Jour ’88, deputy managing editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jackie Crosby, 2016–17 O’Brien Fellow; business reporter, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Mark Johnson, 2016–17 O’Brien Fellow; health and science reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Friday, Oct. 14

9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Welcome – Dr. Kimo Ah Yun, dean of the Diederich College of Communication
9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.

Session I – Shoot to Kill: What Brought Us Here Today?
9:10 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

Justin George, 2015–2016 O’Brien Fellow; reporter, The Baltimore Sun
Hannah Kirby, senior journalism major, Diederich College of Communication

Cheryl Hayes, a mother and cousin of homicide victims in Chicago
Dr. Stephen Hargarten, professor/chairman, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin
Marna Winbush, president and co-founder, Mothers Against Gun Violence in Milwaukee

Session II – Missing Fugitives: How Officials Lose Track of People They Should Be Supervising
10:30 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

Liz Navratil, 2015–2016 O’Brien Fellow; reporter, Pittsburgh Post–Gazette
Lillian Wellen, senior journalism major, Diederich College of Communication

Lunch – The Social Responsibility of Public Service Journalism
Keynote Speaker: Trif Alatzas, publisher and editor-in-chief, The Baltimore Sun Media Group
11:45 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.

Session III – State Secrecy: What Should Be Done About This?
1 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.

Miranda Spivack, 2015–2016 O’Brien Fellow; independent journalist
Jenna Ebbers, Jour ’16; 2015–2016 O’Brien Fellowship student
Devi Shastri, senior biomedical sciences and journalism major, Comm ’16, College of Health Sciences
Theresa Soley, graduate student, Diederich College of Communication

Session IV – Teacher Turnover: Public Education in the Era of Act 10
2:20 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Dave Umhoefer, 2015–2016 O’Brien Fellow; investigative reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Patricia F. Deklotz, superintendent, Kettle Moraine School District, Waukesha County; 2016 Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year
Richard Erickson, science and alternative education teacher, Bayfield High School; 2013 High School Teacher of the Year in Wisconsin, and named one of the nation’s top educators in 2015
Dr. William A. Henk, dean of the Marquette College of Education
Tom Wermuth, superintendent, River Valley School District; former teacher and principal in consolidated district located in Dane, Iowa, Richland and Sauk counties).

Johnston Hall


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