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The Badger Project wins gold at Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism Awards

Investigative story on fired police rehired in law enforcement earns first place for best public service story in the online category.

BY NATHAN DENZIN, The Badger Project

The Milwaukee Press Club honored The Badger Project with a gold at its 2021 Excellence in Journalism Awards gala Friday night.

The first prize award – in the Best Public Service Story or Series category – went to managing editor Peter Cameron’s story on Wisconsin officers back on the job after being fired or forced out. The story was released in partnership with Wisconsin Watch and was picked up across the state and country. It ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Newsweek wrote up a piece on the story.

Using open records requests, Cameron found that nearly 200 law enforcement officers currently employed in the state were fired or forced out from previous jobs in law enforcement. 

Some fired officers were simply novices who didn’t perform at an acceptable level during their initial probationary period, when the bar to fire them is very low. But for others, misconduct including lying, public intoxication and sexual harassment triggered their termination.

You can read the full story here, and see the full list of Milwaukee Press Club finalists here.

Speakers at the event included former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson – who took home the “Headliner Award” for his contributions to Wisconsin – and CNN chief congressional correspondent and UW-Madison alum Manu Raju, who accepted the 2022 Sacred Cat Award, which recognizes excellence in journalism at the national level.

This is the second consecutive year Cameron will take home an award from the Milwaukee Press Club, after earning bronze in the Best Explanatory Story or Series category for his series on COVID-19’s impact on education for Wisconsin Watch last year.

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan journalism nonprofit, supported by reader donations and grants. Consider making a donation today to help support our important work. You can donate by clicking here.

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

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