We are proud of our team of staff, fellows, interns and contributors who work together to make Wisconsin Watch strong.
Part of our mission at Wisconsin Watch is to train the next generation of journalists and those working in the business of journalism. After team members leave our offices, they move on to jobs in journalism and other fields, where they put the skills they learned at Wisconsin Watch to use by holding the powerful to account, creating innovative ways of engaging with the public, sustaining high-quality journalism, and strengthening our society. We celebrate the successes of our former staff, fellows and interns, who are Wisconsin Watch’s legacy.
Also, learn more about our Board of Directors.
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Barbara Johnson joined Wisconsin Watch in 2016 as a volunteer senior strategic advisor. As interim executive director, she helps strengthen operations, with a special focus on the development of Wisconsin Watch’s business model. Johnson was CEO and COO of four media companies in New York and Madison before her retirement in 2015. She was also a reporter and editor for 15 years before moving into business roles, winning national and state awards for her investigative stories. She has served on the boards of public and private companies and as an operating partner of a private equity firm. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
CO-FOUNDER AT LARGE
Andy Hall is co-founder at large and former executive director of Wisconsin Watch. Since 2009, he oversaw the Wisconsin Watch’s journalistic and financial operations. Previously he spent 26 years at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Arizona Republic and has won dozens of awards, including a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism and a national award from the Education Writers Association. Hall is a former Investigative Reporters and Editors board member, and current IRE member.
ROY W. HOWARD INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING FELLOW
Jonmaesha Beltran joined Wisconsin Watch in January 2023 as a Roy W. Howard fellow. She graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism. While completing her degrees at ASU, she’s been a social justice reporter for Cronkite News, an investigative reporter for the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and a Pulliam Fellow for The Arizona Republic. In 2020, she won an Arizona Press Club Award and a Society of Professional Journalists Regional Mark of Excellence Award for her reporting on the experiences of street medics during the Black Lives Matter protests in Phoenix.
MIKE SIMONSON MEMORIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING FELLOW
Jonah Chester is Wisconsin Public Radio’s 2022-2023 Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Reporting Fellow embedded in the Wisconsin Watch newsroom. He most recently worked at Public News Service, a national radio news service, where he covered Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. He previously produced the 6 O’Clock News at WORT 89.9 FM in Madison, where he won numerous awards from the Milwaukee Press Club and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association for his reporting on issues in Dane County and south-central Wisconsin
PROJECT MANAGER, NEWS414
Bevin Christie joined News414, a collaboration between Wisconsin Watch, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media, in 2020. Christie is a social entrepreneur and community organizer, with a background in education reform and workforce development. She has partnered with public/private schools, community based organizations, and the Milwaukee community to build upon a belief that healing, equity, and inclusion is key to Milwaukee being a better place to thrive not just survive.
STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF
Matthew DeFour started in September 2022 as Wisconsin Watch’s first statehouse bureau chief. Previously at the Wisconsin State Journal he covered state and local government for 16 years, including four years as state politics editor. He has a BSJ and MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He was honored by his peers as the 2020 Wisconsin Watchdog of the Year.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PRODUCT, AUDIENCE & VISUALS
Coburn Dukehart joined Wisconsin Watch in 2015 as the Digital and Multimedia Director and became an Associate Director in 2022. She is currently head of product and audience and directs Wisconsin Watch’s visual and digital strategy. Dukehart previously was a senior photo editor at National Geographic, picture and multimedia editor at NPR, and a photo editor at USATODAY.com and washingtonpost.com. She has received numerous awards from the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Association.
Mariela Fonseca Ruiz
Mariela Fonseca Ruiz is a News414/Noticias414 ambassador — forging connections with Milwaukee’s South Side residents, including those who predominantly speak Spanish. She is a proud graduate of Alverno College, where she earned a B.A. in psychology and minored in medical interpretation and professional communications. She’s a first-generation college graduate who knows the importance of community and mentorship navigating careers and resources. She has worked in the nonprofit sector of 10 years, six of those in education — serving families and the broader community.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, BUSINESS AND DEVELOPMENT
Lauren Fuhrmann joined Wisconsin Watch in 2011 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Fuhrmann leads revenue development efforts as well as public engagement initiatives, and assists with development of donors and writing of grant reports. Fuhrmann is vice president of the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was among five young leaders in the inaugural group of “Future Headliners” honored in 2014 by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
Bennet Goldstein reports on water and agriculture as Wisconsin Watch’s Report for America representative on the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk — a collaborative reporting network across the Basin. Before this, Goldstein was on the breaking news team at the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska. He has spent most of his career at daily papers in Iowa, including the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. Goldstein’s work has garnered awards, including the Associated Press Media Editors award for an explanatory feature about a police shooting in rural Wisconsin, and an Iowa Newspaper Association award for a series that detailed the impacts of the loss of social safety net programs on Dubuque’s Marshallese community. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS — MILWAUKEE NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS SERVICE
Deborah Heffner joined in October 2022 as the first Director of Development and Partnerships for Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Supporting the shared vision of Wisconsin Watch and NNS to transform local news in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin, Heffner’s role includes crafting a fundraising strategy and forging new relationships to build visibility for NNS in the business and philanthropic community.
Heffner holds a BA in Educational Policies and Community Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to joining the team in October 2022, Heffner spent over two decades working in the nonprofit sector in Milwaukee specializing in development, grants administration, and program evaluation.
NEW YORK TIMES LOCAL INVESTIGATIONS FELLOW
Mario Koran joined Wisconsin Watch in July 2021 and is currently a New York Times local investigations fellow. He was a 2021 Knight Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan. Previously, he was a west coast correspondent for the Guardian US and covered education for Voice of San Diego, where he was named 2016 reporter of the year by the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Appeal, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and he was a Wisconsin Watch intern in 2013. He holds a BA in Spanish literature and MA in journalism from UW-Madison.
DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR
Jim Malewitz joined Wisconsin Watch in 2019. His role includes editing, managing fellows and interns and investigative reporting. He also coordinates Wisconsin Watch’s role in its News414 service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. He has worked for Bridge Magazine in his home state of Michigan, was an investigative reporter for the Texas Tribune and Stateline. Malewitz majored in political science at Grinnell College in Iowa and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. He was a founding member of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, where he serves on the board of directors.
Delicia Morris is a News414 ambassador. She has been a community advocate and community health worker for Milwaukee’s Northwest side for over 15 years. She specializes in gathering information and resources and use that knowledge to educate, equip and empower the neighborhood. She’s a graduate of UWM with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. She has a passion for people and community and has participated in special projects/programs for holistic wellness, black women maternal childcare, childhood obesity, asthma prevention, and intergenerational communication.
FINANCE AND OPERATIONS MANAGER
Rhiannon Orizaga is Wisconsin Watch’s first Finance & Operations Manager. Prior to joining Wisconsin Watch, she spent a decade in nonprofit operations, doing everything from communications to membership to information technology. She holds a dual Bachelor’s in English and History from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Ancient Mediterranean History from Portland State University. Rhiannon is proud to be a queer Chicana and cat mom, and in her spare time, she can be found knitting, antiquing, or exploring Wisconsin’s beautiful natural spaces.
DEVELOPMENT OPERATIONS MANAGER
Zachary Peterson joined Wisconsin Watch in May 2022 as the first development operations manager. He manages donor communication and leads donor prospect research. Previously, Peterson has served as Donor Relations Assistant at TSA, Instructor of English at ECU, Graduate Assistant Director of the Writing Center at UWEC, Alumni/Donor Relations Intern at Ripon College and Advocacy Intern at the Boston Preservation Alliance. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Ripon College and Master of Arts in English- Writing from UW- Eau Claire.
Phoebe Petrovic is an investigative reporter at Wisconsin Watch and a 2022-2023 Law & Justice Journalism Project fellow. As a Report for America corps member from 2019-2022, Petrovic reported, produced, and hosted “Open and Shut,” a podcast series co-published with Wisconsin Public Radio examining the power of prosecutors. Petrovic previously worked at WPR as a Lee Ester News Fellow, “Reveal” from the Center for Investigative Reporting as an editorial intern and NPR’s “Here & Now” as a temporary producer. Her work has aired nationally on all of NPR’s flagship news magazines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Yale University.
Jacob Resneck joined Wisconsin Watch in 2022 via Report for America, covering threats to democracy with an emphasis on rights in the workplace. Previously, he worked in Juneau, Alaska as an editor and reporter for the nonprofit public media consortium CoastAlaska. Before that he spent more than eight years abroad reporting from Germany, Turkey, the Balkans and Middle East. He’s also worked for weekly and daily newspapers in rural Northern California where he grew up and New York’s Adirondack Mountains. He now lives in Oshkosh with his wife, a poet and teacher and their two young children.
Kiran Saini joined Wisconsin Watch in January 2023. She graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a bachelor’s degree in online journalism, where she was a member of the Journalism Institute for Media Diversity. Prior to joining, Saini was an audience development manager at the Detroit Free Press where she oversaw audience work for 15 newspapers across Michigan. Saini is passionate about championing diversity in newsrooms and increasing accessibility to news coverage.
Amena (Amona) Saleh
DIGITAL EDITOR AND PRODUCER
Amena Saleh joined Wisconsin Watch in January 2023, after working for a year as a photo and production intern. She graduated in 2022 with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and neurobiology from UW-Madison. She is a recipient of the Sigrid Schultz Scholarship award for her academic and reporting work. She is also the past president of both the Muslim Student Association and the Arab Student Association at UW-Madison.
SPANISH TRANSLATOR AND ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT FOR NEWS414
Dilpreet Saraina is the Spanish translator and engagement assistant for News414/Noticias414. She graduated from Marquette University with degrees in Biology and Spanish. After graduation, decided to stay in Milwaukee and deepen her involvement in the community. In 2017, Saraina served a year with Public Allies at Core El Centro on Milwaukee’s South Side. She continued to serve her community with her work at a free clinic in Milwaukee’s Spanish speaking community. Saraina keeps herself busy volunteering and serving as a Spanish Cultural Specialist/teacher assistant at NorthShore Montessori School, and as a clinical research coordinator at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Vanessa Vasquez is a News414/Noticias414 ambassador — forging connections on Milwaukee’s South Side, where she grew up. Vasquez earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Alverno College as a first-generation student. Vanessa currently serves as the Director of the Caroline Scholars Program at Mount Mary University. She previously worked at Carmen Schools of Science & Technology, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Alverno College. Vasquez volunteers with multiple Milwaukee-area organizations. She was recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal (MBJ) as one of the 2019, 40 Under 40 Award recipients, the 2018 UMOS Hispanic Woman of the Year, and the 2016 Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM) Future Leader Award. She served as the 2013-2014 Ambassador representing the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation/Mexican Fiesta Inc.
FUND FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM DIVERSITY FELLOW
Zhen Wang joined Wisconsin Watch as a Fund for Investigative Journalism fellow in January 2023. She has worked as a reporting intern since May 2021. At UW-Madison, she earned a master’s degree in journalism. She previously worked for the Guardian Beijing bureau and China Daily. Before joining the journalism industry, she worked in various sectors and obtained a master’s degree in international relations in New Zealand. She speaks Chinese and is a member of Asian American Journalists Association.
SCRIPPS HOWARD FUND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING INTERN
Farrah Anderson is the Scripps Howard Fund Investigative Reporting Intern at Wisconsin Watch and News414 for the summer of 2023. Anderson studies journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently works as a reporter and podcast host at Illinois Public Media and a freelance reporter for the Invisible Institute and The New York Times. In the past, she’s worked as the reporting intern for Illinois Public Media and St. Louis Public Radio.
Rachel Hale joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in June 2023. She is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Journalism and Political Science with certificates in Jewish studies and Middle East studies. Rachel previously worked at The Forward and The Times of Israel and was a member of the POLITICO Journalism Institute’s 2023 cohort. She is interested in reporting that spans the intersection of cultural identity and political impact.
AUDIENCE & PARTNERSHIPS INTERN
Campbell Hamai is an Institute for Nonprofit News intern from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She has worked as a Potter Digital Ambassador, marketing intern, technical assistant and nurse’s aide before joining Wisconsin Watch. She is interested in editing, photojournalism and writing. Hamai is finishing her bachelors degrees in English and Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia this summer, and is also pursuing a master’s degree in English.
Joey Prestley joined Wisconsin Watch as a photo intern in February 2022. He is pursuing a professional-track master’s degree in journalism at UW-Madison with specialties in investigative and environmental journalism.
Drake White-Bergey joined Wisconsin Watch as a photography intern in January 2023. He is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he majors in history and journalism. Drake is also the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Cardinal, and he previously served as the photo editor of the paper. He hopes to pursue a career in photojournalism.
Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND ANIMATOR
Claire DeRosa worked for Wisconsin Watch from 2019-2022 as their first graphic designer. She pioneered Wisconsin Watch’s brand through bold and experimental design, establishing their visual identity. DeRosa currently designs for Rise Strategy Group in Chicago, helping tell the stories of public, private and nonprofit clients throughout the city. She holds a BA in journalism and political science from UW-Madison and enjoys deejaying and producing electronic music in her free time.
Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.
AUDIO STORIES NARRATOR
Wesley Lethem is an audiovisual and acoustic engineer with a diverse background in narration, audio design & production, podcasting, theater, live sound, noise control, recording, AV design, and architectural acoustics. He is the owner and founder of Sound Service, a Chicago based design and engineering company and currently works for Shure Incorporated as a DSP Test Engineer.
Christa Westerberg is an attorney at Pines Bach LLP in Madison, Wisconsin, where she practices environmental, civil rights, and open government law. Since 2008, Westerberg has served as the vice president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.