Wisconsin Public Radio’s commitment to the highest standards of journalism includes training early career and underrepresented reporters each year. In 2022, three new journalism fellows joined WPR’s news team.
“Educating new journalists through these fellowships is some of the most important work we do,” said interim WPR Director Tom Luljak. “Research-based journalism takes time and attention to detail. We’re mentoring our news fellows in the rigorous practices that lead to accurate, unbiased reporting. It’s wonderful to see the promise these individuals bring, to WPR and to our audience across the state.”
Jonah Chester joined WPR as the new Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Reporting Fellow. During the one-year fellowship, Chester will work collaboratively with WPR and Wisconsin Watch, the news outlet of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. He’ll deepen his skills in investigative journalism, editing, and on-air production for broadcast and digital platforms. An Indiana University alum, Chester was assistant news director at WORT radio in Madison and has won awards for his work from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the Milwaukee Press Club. Named for award-winning WPR reporter Mike Simonson, who passed away unexpectedly in 2014, funding for the fellowship came from private donors who valued Simonson’s legacy of investigative reporting.
Leah Treidler is WPR’s new Second Century News Fellow. They will produce and file stories originating in Milwaukee. Created in 2016, the Second Century News Fellowship provides an opportunity for young journalists from diverse backgrounds to gain hands-on experience in public media news production. Treidler studied at Oberlin College and was a “Morning Edition” producer at KUER in Salt Lake City. They have already filed stories for WPR on novel solutions to a rural housing shortage, the handling of sexual misconduct in the National Guard, and a controversy over the Eau Claire school board’s guidance on supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students.
Gaby Vinick joined WPR as the 2022 Lee Ester News Fellow. This fellowship was created in memory of long-time Wisconsin journalist Lee Ester to provide opportunities for early career journalists to gain practical experience in public media news production. Vinick is a recent UW-Madison graduate and former managing editor of the UW student newspaper The Daily Cardinal. She has interned for Madison Magazine, News Not Noise, and PBS Wisconsin, and she recently completed a political reporting training program with POLITICO.
“Developing the next generation of journalists is important work, not only for WPR and public media, but for sustaining an informed citizenship,” said interim WPR News Director Kyla Calvert Mason. “We’ve seen journalism come under attack in so many ways in recent years, and it’s absolutely crucial that we’re training people to do what reporters do: to ask hard questions, to dig into research, and to make connections in the community, all leading to accurate and fair reporting. I’m honored to work with these young reporters and help hone their skills.”
To learn more about WPR’s fellowship programs and to see a list of alumni, go to wpr.org/fellowship.