Rick BarrettIn "Disconnected," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Rick Barrett and his team of O’Brien student interns investigated the economic and cultural future of rural Wisconsin.

Their main focus initially was the lack of access to high-speed internet rural areas and urban areas of Wisconsin.

Kelli Arseneau and Chris Miller, two Marquette students, helped Barrett with the series. Mark Hoffman, a photojournalist, and Andrew Mollica, a developer on the data and investigations team, contributed important elements.

Their June 2021 story outlined why rural Wisconsin still lags in getting high-speed internet service, and examined the economic and cultural consequences.

In September 2020, the reporting team published a story focused on the migration of city goers to rural or suburban areas due to the pandemic and rising protests. This permanent refuge could be a “lifeline for small towns.”

Works published to date:

September 18, 2020
As the pandemic grinds on, the Northwoods beckons many seeking solitude, natural social distancing

June 3, 2021

Electricity transformed rural America nearly a century ago. Now, millions of people on farms and in small towns desperately need broadband.

How rural Wisconsin is falling behind

June 9, 2021

In Kentucky's 'Silicon Holler' and Wisconsin's Northwoods, high-speed internet is creating jobs, and changing lives

July 14, 2021

With poor data, deficient requirements and little oversight, massive public spending still hasn't solved the rural internet access problem

August 12, 2021

For the US to fully realize the economic and cultural benefits of broadband, it must reach everyone and be built to last

Dec. 9, 2021

The digital divide is not just in rural America. In poorer urban neighborhoods, internet access remains elusive.