In October 2013, the Diederich College of Communication convened a conference that presents the work and research done by 2012-13 O’Brien Fellow Meg Kissinger and undergraduate and graduate students working with her the previous academic year at Marquette University. Kissinger, an award-winning journalist at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and her team spent a year reporting on Milwaukee County’s mental health system. Aided by Marquette faculty and students, Kissinger’s work led to the heralded Journal Sentinel series “Chronic Crisis: A System That Doesn’t Heal.”

“Chronic Crisis” demonstrated that the county’s mental health system focuses less on continual care and more on emergency treatment than any in the nation. This inaugural O’Brien Fellowship conference convened people affected by or responsible for the system in an attempt to seek solutions for providing patients the best possible care. It also deconstructed how this kind of world-class journalism gets done.

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