Wisconsin Watch will intensify its commitment to combating mis- and disinformation with the promotion of reporter Phoebe Petrovic to the disinformation beat.
Petrovic has been a reporter for Wisconsin Watch since 2019. She was the host, lead reporter and producer for Open and Shut, a 2022 investigative podcast that explores the nearly unchecked power of prosecutors in the criminal justice system.
Open and Shut has been named national finalist by the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts for “outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system.” Petrovic also has been named a finalist in the national Livingston Awards honoring the top U.S. journalists under the age of 35.
“Phoebe is the right person to help us counter the rampant mis- and disinformation that infects social media and political discourse in Wisconsin and across the country,” Wisconsin Watch Managing Editor Dee J. Hall said. “This is one of the greatest threats to our democracy — and we are proud to join the fight against it.”
Petrovic’s coverage of mis- and disinformation is made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Course Correct project. Researchers will continue development of the Course Correct tool, designed at the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, to help journalists identify and combat mis- and disinformation online.
Researchers also will study whether disinformation coverage by Petrovic and reporters from The Capital Times and Snopes has an effect on the flow of false information. In 2022, as part of its commitment to combating disinformation, Wisconsin Watch joined a pilot project, Gigafact, publishing bite-sized fact briefs on issues of state importance.
Petrovic is a 2018 graduate of Yale University. She worked for three years as a Report for America Corps member for Wisconsin Watch before joining the staff. Petrovic previously served internships and fellowships with Wisconsin Public Radio, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting/PRX, ideastream and NPR in Boston.
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