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Wisconsin Right Now Wins 3 Milwaukee Press Club Awards for Parole, Michels Coverage

Sgt. Eilers and Cathy Ziebell

Wisconsin Right Now has won three Milwaukee Press Club awards for our coverage of paroles, the state’s failure to notify victims of parole hearings, and Tim Michels’ residency questions.

The awards, won by WRN co-editors Jessica McBride and Jim Piwowarczyk, were announced by the Press Club on March 10, 2023. The place – 1st, 2nd or 3rd – will be announced on May 12 at the Gridiron Awards Dinner at the Pfister hotel in Milwaukee.

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The Milwaukee Press Club is a statewide contest, so McBride and Piwowarczyk competed against the state’s major television stations, newspapers, and online sites. “The Milwaukee Press Club is the oldest continuously operating press club in North America, and possibly the world,” its website says.

The awards were for:

Best Public Service Story or Series
Victims’ Families Not Notified About Paroles

We submitted a series of stories in which we uncovered the fact that multiple murder victims’ families were not notified by the state of paroles and parole hearings of the killers of their loved ones.

Tony evers parole
Tony evers and johanna balsewicz

Best Coverage of a Single News Topic or Event Including Breaking News
Douglas Balsewicz case

We submitted a series of stories about our coverage of the pending parole of wife killer Douglas Balsewicz, whose parole was ultimately reversed.

Best Investigative Story or Series
Tim Michels’ Residency Questions

We submitted our story investigating gubernatorial Tim Michels’ residency questions.

WRN competed with the state’s major newspapers, online sites and television stations in the award contest. Wisconsin Right Now has won Milwaukee Press Club awards every year since its founding in August 2020.

“We are most proud that we were able to give a needed voice to victims who had been left out of the state’s parole process,” McBride said. “We remain deeply troubled by the Wisconsin news media’s lack of interest in the voices of victims when covering that topic. The media made the parole story only about numbers. To us, it was a story, ultimately, about the effect on human beings.”

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