John Diedrich, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Diedrich is an investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His most recent work includes a team investigation into deadly electrical ﬁres in impoverished neighborhoods. In 2019, he led a team examining the long-time practice by hospitals of turning away ambulances, which can endanger patients’ lives by delaying care. His stories have won numerous national honors, most recently a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for his work on "Wires and Fires," an investigation into electrical code violations and fatal fires in Milwaukee's poorest neighborhoods. Other awards include a George Polk award, Gerald Loeb Award, National Headliner Award for Public Service, and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award.
Formerly, Diedrich covered the military and national security for the Colorado Springs Gazette and government and politics at the Kenosha News. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism.
Lee Hawkins, independent journalist
Hawkins is producing a podcast in partnership with APM Studios, the podcast division of American Public Media (APM), and is also the author of the forthcoming book, NOBODY'S SLAVE: How Uncovering My Family's History Set Me Free (HarperCollins 2023). In 2021, he received the Adam Clayton Powell Reporting Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists and was a ﬁnalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. He is a four-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists’ "Salute to Excellence" Award. Hawkins was also part of a reporting team that was recognized as finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
At The Wall Street Journal over 19 years, Hawkins covered a variety of assignments and education topics. He is also known for his on-camera interviews with inﬂuential newsmakers and icons. His career began in Wisconsin at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in political science, where he was editorial page editor of the Badger Herald student newspaper.
Lauren Lindstrom, independent journalist
Lindstrom is an independent journalist focusing on health and housing. As a Report for America corps member for three years at The Charlotte Observer, she wrote about the human toll of evictions during the pandemic, substandard housing conditions, and challenges to solving homelessness. Previously, she was the health reporter for The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, where she wrote about the state’s opioid crisis and childhood lead poisoning. Her reporting on local officials’ failure to ensure remedies for hazardous homes resulted in reforms by the local health department.
Lindstrom earned two Touchstone Awards from the Press Club of Toledo for her stories on long-term trauma for clergy sex abuse victims, childhood lead poisoning, and housing in Toledo. Lindstrom graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism in 2014.
Samantha Shapiro, independent journalist
Shapiro is a long-form freelance writer. Her recent work for The New York Times Magazine includes a story on homeless students in New York. Her award-winning stories have been reprinted in textbooks, general interest books and syndicated internationally. Shapiro has worked as a freelancer since 2005, publishing stories in Mother Jones, Foreign Policy, ESPN, Crain's, Slate and Wired.
Earlier in her career, she worked as a reporter at The Forward, a national outlet serving the American Jewish population, and The Stranger, an alternative bi-weekly newspaper in Seattle. Her stories have been awarded best feature from the Education Writers Association and she has been a ﬁnalist for the National Magazine Award. Shapiro graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with bachelor’s degrees in literature and history.
Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Guy Boulton covers health policy and the business of healthcare for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His work touches on the Affordable Care Act, health care reform, health care costs, health systems, health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, dental care and behavioral health care. His reporting career includes stints at The Tampa Tribune, Cincinnati Enquirer, The Wichita Eagle and The Salt Lake Tribune, where he covered economics, airlines, technology companies, utilities, the oil and gas industry and other beats. He also has written for The Seattle Times and The Denver Post. He contributed to ‘Poor Health,’ an award-winning series led by O’Brien Fellow Lillian Thomas of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He was a Kaiser Media Fellow in 2009.
Sarah Carr, independent journalist
Sarah Carr is an award-winning education journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic magazine, The Hechinger Report, and many other outlets. She is the author of "Hope Against Hope," about the New Orleans schools, which was chosen as a campus-wide read at Tulane University and Macalester College. Most recently, she led The Great Divide, an investigative education reporting team at the Boston Globe. For five years before that, she oversaw The Teacher Project, an education reporting fellowship at Columbia Journalism School that partnered with 30 different news outlets to produce in-depth reporting on racial inequality. She has worked on staff at The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Sari Lesk, Milwaukee Business Journal
Sari Lesk is a reporter for the Milwaukee Business Journal, covering the banking, restaurant, retail and education beats. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Lesk has devoted significant time to covering businesses’ opportunities for financial relief. Previously, Lesk covered the Racine City Council and higher education for The Journal Times. She served on a team of reporters that illustrated the impact of evictions in Racine County, which in 2016 had the highest eviction rate in the state. During her time in Racine, Lesk also regularly served in editing roles. She reported at the Stevens Point Journal. There, she helped investigate how a jumble of regulations at the local, state and federal levels allows a railroad company to block people into their homes with trains.
Katherine Lewis, independent journalist
Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning independent journalist and author of "The Good News About Bad Behavior." Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, The New York Times, OneZero, Parents, Slate, USA Today, The Washington Post and Working Mother. Her story for Mother Jones magazine about school discipline went viral after it was published in July 2015, becoming the site’s most-viewed piece. She was an MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow in 2020-21. Previously, Lewis worked as a national correspondent for Newhouse News Service, writing about money, work and family, and as a national reporter for Bloomberg News, covering labor, agriculture, finance, national politics, and media and technology policy. She began her career in New York City with the Bond Buyer.
Timothy Bannon, independent journalist
Tim Bannon, of Oak Park, IL, was a top editor and writer at the Chicago Tribune over a 25-year period. At various times he oversaw sports, culture and entertainment coverage before taking a buyout in January 2020. He’s a former Sun-Times editor, and reported at the Arlington Heights (IL) Daily Herald and Anderson (IN) Daily Bulletin. He was lead editor for the Tribune’s series on a deadly tornado that struck Utica, Ill. The series of stories by Julia Keller won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. His journalism/English literature degree is from Indiana University.
Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Rick Barrett, a reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for nearly 20 years, writes extensively about the dairy industry, manufacturing and international trade. He was the lead reporter on the Journal Sentinel’s “Dairyland in Distress” series. He’s reported for the Wisconsin State Journal and papers in Florida, Texas and Michigan, his home state, and served as a news photographer at the Arkansas Democrat. He’s a graduate of Central Michigan University.
Ashley Nguyen, independent journalist
Ashley Nguyen helped launch The Lily, a publication of The Washington Post that elevates women’s voices. Currently she is finishing up a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in maternal and child health at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University and previously worked as a local producer at Philly.com and a program officer at the International Center for Journalists. She is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan.
James Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
James Causey is a projects reporter and editorial columnist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he’s worked since 1995 in a variety of reporting and editing roles. He's also a co-contributor to Black Nouveau on Milwaukee PBS, where he won a regional Emmy Award for the episode "Crossing the Bridge." Causey is a past Harvard Nieman Fellow and USC Health Journalism Fellow, and has received the USA Today Network Award and National Headliner Award. He currently sits on the advisory board for the Center for Journalism Ethics.
Payton Guion, NJ Advance Media
Payton Guion is an investigative reporter at NJ Advance Media in Newark, New Jersey. Previously, Guion has worked at The Santiago Times in Chile, The Mecklenburg Times, VICE News, the U.S. bureau of The Independent and Asbury Park Press. He has a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His investigation exposing squalid conditions and landlord neglect of New Jersey's rental housing prompted state legislation and earned an award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
Katelyn Ferral, The Capital Times
Katelyn Ferral is an investigative reporter at The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. She published an award-winning investigation on abuses at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, WI. Ferral is a Marquette journalism alumna and has previously reported for the Associated Press, The News & Observer and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. She’s been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Wisconsin News Association, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, Milwaukee Press Club and International Center for Journalists.
Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
Larry Parnass is the investigations editor at The Berkshire Eagle and an adjunct journalism professor at the University of Massachusetts. He has over 30 years of experience as a print reporter and editor, and has also contributed stories to outlets including The Washington Post and Reuters. Parnass and his teams have been recognized by the New England Newspaper & Press Association and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association.
Natasha Haverty, Independent Journalist
Natasha Haverty is an independent reporter/producer from Boston who has reported for NPR, The New York Times, and the Fund for Investigative Journalism. She co-produced the Prison Time Media Project, a national series examining mass incarceration, and worked as a station-based reporter at North Country Public Radio and New Hampshire Public Radio after getting her start at The Moth. Her work has been honored with a National Edward R. Murrow Award–for a series on homelessness in New Hampshire, and two Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists—for her series on birth and death behind bars, and her investigation into a murder case in New York’s North Country. She is writing a book on the Norfolk Prison Debating Society.
Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Ashley Luthern is a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covering public safety and breaking news. She was the Journal Sentinel's lead reporter for Precious Lives, a two-year media collaboration to examine the causes and consequences of gun violence on local youth which was honored as a Peabody finalist. And in 2016, she led the Journal Sentinel’s coverage of a fatal police shooting. The incident led to unrest in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood. Before joining the Journal Sentinel, she was a reporter for The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio.
Katie Worth, FRONTLINE PBS
Katie Worth is a reporter on FRONTLINE’s digital team and former enterprise reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. In 2011 she moved to Santiago, Chile, where she spent three years admiring the Andes, eating too many empanadas and freelancing stories for Scientific American, National Geographic, Slate and Vice. One story she wrote for Scientific American was selected for inclusion in The Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology of 2016, and her investigation for FRONTLINE into the systemic inequality underpinning the Zika’s explosion in northwest Brazil was recognized as a finalist for the National Institute of Health Care Management Research and Journalism Awards for digital coverage.
Erin Jordan, The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette
Erin Jordan has worked as an investigative reporter since 2010 for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette, where recently she’s covered topics including water quality, school seclusion practices and gender equity in sports. She spearheads The Gazette’s Fact Checker team, which checks claims from Iowa politicians/candidates and claims about Iowa. Jordan is a founding board member and board president of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, or IowaWatch, and teaches investigative reporting at the University of Iowa summer journalism workshop. Prior to her work at The Gazette, Jordan was the Iowa City bureau reporter for the Des Moines Register.
Jenni Monet, Independent Journalist
Jenni Monet is an independent journalist chronicling Indigenous justice issues in the U.S. and abroad. She's a routine contributor to the Center for Investigative Reporting, PBS NewsHour, Columbia Journalism Review, PRI The World, and more. In 2017, Monet received top honors for her coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Monet studied journalism at Columbia University where she earned an MA in International Politics with a concentration in Indigenous Human Rights Policy. She is a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, a tribal nation in New Mexico, and lives between New York and Tucson when not on assignment.
Gary Harki, The Virginian-Pilot
Gary Harki is an investigative reporter at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia. Prior to this position, he worked at The Exponent-Telegram in mountainous north-central West Virginia, where he covered the story of 12 miners trapped in the Sago mine after an explosion. All but one of the workers died. That story launched him into his successful investigative reporting career. In 2009, while working at The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia, Harki was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for his investigation into police brutality and corruption. He was named Virginia Press Association Outstanding Journalist of the Year in 2017.
Erin Richards, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Erin Richards is an education reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The St. Louis native sees education reporting as “a window into what was moving the state forward and simultaneously holding it back.” As a Spencer Fellow in Education Reporting at Columbia University in 2015, she explored the history and future of the nation's private-school choice movement. It capped a seven-year period in which she covered education and education policy for the Journal Sentinel, including the aftermath of Gov. Scott Walker’s push to end most collective bargaining by teachers and other public workers. She also has experience as an adjunct instructor in journalism at Carroll University and was a Livingston Award finalist in 2009.
Eben Pindyck, Independent Journalist
As a freelance writer, Eben Pindyck has published stories in both local and national outlets including: The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vice, Milwaukee Magazine, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and The Oregonian, among others.
His interests are eclectic, his approach consistent in its depth.
“Eben has a deep commitment to learn everything he can about the most thorny issues of the day, where race and class and crime meet. He resists easy answers,” notes Dan Simmons, former managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine.
After attending high school in the Milwaukee area, Eben earned degrees in English and Journalism from Columbia University, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Portland State University.
Andy Soth, Wisconsin Public Television
Andy Soth is a longtime producer of public affairs coverage at Wisconsin Public Television. He was part of a civic journalism documentary reporting as part of two national PBS election series. One episode of the series, “The :30 Second Candidate,” earned a national Emmy award. He also authored the program’s companion web site for pbs.org and led the creation at WPT of WisconsinVote.org, a site that’s helped hundreds of thousands connect to election news and voter resources. He later became WPT’s correspondent for QUEST, the multi-media science reporting project run by KQED, San Francisco’s public station. Now he’s mainly a producer for the “Wisconsin Life” program, a joint production of Wisconsin Public Television and Radio.
Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune
Jackie Crosby is a business reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, where she writes about the impact that aging baby boomers and rising millennials are having on the economy, health care system and workplace. She has won numerous state, regional and national awards for her work. As a young sports reporter at the Macon Telegraph in Georgia, she co-authored a series on athletics and academics that was awarded the 1985 Pulitzer Prize in specialized reporting. A seventh-generation Floridian, she has somehow figured out how to thrive in frigid Minnesota.
Maria Perez, Naples Daily News
Maria Perez is a minority affairs reporter for the Naples Daily News in southwest Florida. A native of Spain, she earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York in 2013, and has also covered general assignments at El Nuevo Herald in Miami, the most influential Spanish-speaking newspaper in the hemisphere. Perez is a former arts section reporter at El Mundo in Madrid, the second-largest daily newspaper in Spain.
Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mark Johnson is a health and science reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was part of a team that won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting for a series of reports on the use of genetic technology to save a 4-year-old boy imperiled by a mysterious disease. In 2003 and 2006, Johnson was part of Journal Sentinel teams that were finalists for the Pulitzer in explanatory reporting; in 2014, he was a finalist for the prize in feature writing in 2014. He previously worked for The Providence Journal in Rhode Island, as well as three other newspapers.
Justin George, The Baltimore Sun
Justin George has been a crime reporter at The Baltimore Sun since 2012, a role leading to him to contribute to the first series of the popular podcast “Serial.” During the Freddie Gray investigation and subsequent Baltimore riots in April 2015, he reported from inside the police department's headquarters. George grew up in Littleton, Colo., and attended Columbine High School before graduating from the University of Colorado. Before The Sun, George worked at the Tampa Bay Times, where he covered Hurricane Katrina and investigated sex abuse at a group home.
Miranda Spivack, Independent Journalist
Miranda Spivack specializes in accountability journalism and writes for The Washington Post and various print and online magazines. Between 1998 and 2013, she worked as an editor and reporter at The Post. Her reporting and editing led to changes in the way government conducts its work, including regulation and oversight of development, campaign finance, the environment and public safety. Spivack previously served as a deputy editor for The Gazette Newspapers, a Post subsidiary, and is also a former Washington correspondent for The Hartford Courant.
Liz Navratil, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Liz Navratil covers the Pittsburgh and Allegheny County police departments for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The University of Pittsburgh graduate helped to expose allegations that the city’s police chief and others in a bureau diverted money from the department into an off-the-books account for personal use. The police chief was forced to resign and sentenced to prison; the reporting earned accolades from Investigative Reporters & Editors. Navratil also helped to reveal flaws to a police response to a woman’s 911 call the night she was killed.
Dave Umhoefer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Dave Umhoefer is an investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for a six-month investigation of Milwaukee County’s pension system; his stories exposed a corrupt, illegal scheme in which more than 350 employees had increased their pensions by a collective $50 million. The University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate is also a reporter for the Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact Wisconsin team and an adjunct instructor teaching investigative journalism to students at Marquette.
Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic
Brandon Loomis has been an environmental reporter at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix since November 2012; he previously worked at other news outlets including the Salt Lake Tribune, Anchorage Daily News and Idaho Falls Post Register. Loomis won the 2012 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment and the 2013 Best of the West Prize for Growth and Environmental Reporting. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska and was a 1993-94 Ted Scripps Graduate Fellow at the University of Michigan.
Marjorie Valbrun, Independent Journalist
Marjorie Valbrun has worked for The Baltimore Sun, The Wall Street Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer and her work has appeared frequently in The Washington Post. Valbrun spent a year reporting on the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. She has won awards for international reporting and feature and editorial writing. She has degrees from Long Island University and Columbia University and has taught journalism at Howard University. She is a former Neiman Fellow at Harvard University and a past Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow.
Raquel Rutledge, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Raquel Rutledge is an investigative reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who previously reported at The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Christian Science Monitor. Rutledge won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for “Cashing In on Kids,” related to Wisconsin’s subsidized day care program; she has also earned other major investigative honors as the Gerald Loeb, Worth Bingham, George Polk and Goldsmith awards. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and was a 2012 Neiman Fellow at Harvard University.
Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times
Hal Bernton has been a reporter with The Seattle Times since 2000. He received the Gerald R. Ford Prize for national defense reporting in 2013 and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2003 for his work with other Seattle Times reporters on “The Terrorist Within.” In 1989, he was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for “People in Peril,” a series published by The Anchorage Daily News about Alaska’s native peoples.
Lillian Thomas, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Lillian Thomas is assistant managing editor of special projects at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Since late 2012, her investigative team has broken dozens of stories about a federal investigation of the city of Pittsburgh that led to charges against the police chief, who resigned, and now has begun to focus on the city’s mayor. Thomas has also been a reporter, city editor and Sunday editor for The Post-Gazette.
Dan Egan, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Dan Egan has been covering the Great Lakes for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel since 2003. He was a Pulitzer finalist for explanatory reporting in both 2013 and 2010. Egan won the Oakes Award for environmental journalism in 2006 and has received four National Headliner Awards for environmental and science reporting.
Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Meg Kissinger is an investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who has written extensively about the failures of the mental health system in Milwaukee County since 2000. Kissinger was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 and has earned several other honors for her reporting, including from the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Her O’Brien Fellowship led to “Chronic Crisis: A System That Doesn’t Heal,” a series that earned the 2013 George Polk for Medical Writing. She is a graduate of DePauw University.