Skip to content

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism Continues To Report News We Need To Know, Glenwood City Story Proves Point

November 19, 2013

It was only a few months ago that the fate of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism was up in the air.  Legislative Republicans had attempted to banish the center from their offices in the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  The reason for this action was clearly designed to show what the epitome of petty politics looks like.   In the end there was a major outpouring of disbelief from around the state that was so loud it forced the hand of Governor Walker to strike the matter with a veto.

Most telling about the budget provision was the fact no state dollars were involved as private foundations, individuals and news organizations fund the center.   So the only rationale for the provision being in the budget is that someone’s undies got knotted over the work the center did on a story.  I tend to think that if someone is feeling pinched over a news story the reporter(s) must be doing something correct.

Over and over the Center for Investigative Journalism has worked to make sure stories dealing with government, political institutions, and environmental issues are better understood with more thorough reporting.  We are all better off knowing more about our government, and the major issues of the day.

And that is exactly what the center did yet again this week with the coverage of events playing out in Glenwood City, Wisconsin.   In that small community the mayor and two council members are facing recall elections over their  handling of a proposed frac sand mine that would be built a half-mile south of a  school.

With the number of sand mines that this state currently has, and the volume of sand that is being extracted or proposed to be taken, comes the need to better understand the relationship mining interests have in communities that are struggling to find a way to balance health and environmental concerns with potential economic gain.    Where does local control end, and large corporate interests begin?

With sharp reporting and strong writing the Center for Investigative Journalism demonstrated yet again why their work is essential to our state.  With fewer reporters working for newspapers it is imperative that solid journalists like those working at the center be encouraged to ferret out the stories that the entire state needs to be engaged with as  solutions are sought for the issues of the day.

Often I hear how news consumers have so many ways to become informed.  It is true that with modern technology and social media there are endless ways to keep updated.  But with more sources for news comes the need to also locate the most professional reporters and journalists with high standards.    We can be proud that in Wisconsin the Center for Investigative Journalism contains so many of them who work in our interest.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: