Since 2013, the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism has supported investigative or explanatory reporting projects by 18 journalists from around the country.
In service of the Fellowship’s mission to investigate problems and potential solutions, O’Brien projects have tackled issues including the environment, education, mental illness, health care, medical science, open government and criminal justice.
Stories by O’Brien Fellows have earned prestigious honors including the George Polk and the duPont, and awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, National Headliner, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the John Jay College/Guggenheim contest.
Fellows have worked as staff or freelance journalists. Applications are welcome from journalists whose work would appear in or on newspapers, radio, television, websites, online publications or magazines of general public interest.
As of fall 2017, 60 graduate and undergraduate students have spent at least one semester helping O’Brien Fellows with reporting, data analysis, research and multimedia presentation.
Dave Umhoefer, a La Crosse, Wisconsin native, was named O’Brien Fellowship director in May 2017. He also teaches investigative reporting in the Diederich College of Communication. His 32-year career as a reporter and editor at the Milwaukee Journal and Journal Sentinel culminated in a 2008 Pulitzer Prize.
Christiana Gorchynsky is a graduate student studying Digital Communication Strategies, and is interested in marketing, advertising and writing. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in Radio, TV and Film. Her previous internships have included marketing, social media, and communications.
Julie Grace is a graduate student in Communication. She graduated magna cum laude with undergraduate degrees in journalism and political science from Marquette in May. Her past internships include a congressional office, policy research organizations and a public information office. She is also an intern with O’Brien Fellow Andy Soth from Wisconsin Public Television.
Amelia Jones is our undergraduate program assistant. She is a senior at Marquette studying broadcast journalism with a minor in French. She has interned with Fox 6 and CBS 58 in Milwaukee, KARE-11 news in Minneapolis and KTTC-TV in Rochester, MN. She is also an intern with O'Brien Fellow Andy Soth from Wisconsin Public Television.
George is editor and former managing editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a co-founder of the O’Brien Fellowship. He was instrumental in creating the program with former Marquette College of Communication Dean Lori Bergen and O’Brien funders Patricia and Peter Frechette. Journal Sentinel provides resources to and often co-publishes O’Brien-backed projects. He had a distinguished reporting career at the Milwaukee Sentinel and the Wichita Eagle, often focusing on environmental issues. He is a 1979 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Greg Borowski is deputy editor for news, projects and investigations at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Projects he’s overseen have won the top honors in journalism, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Worth Bingham Prize, the George Polk Award, the Goldsmith Prize, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, the Barlett & Steele Awards and the Investigative Reporters and Editors competition. Before moving into editing in 2008, he won numerous awards as a reporter at Journal Sentinel, and at newspapers in Michigan and Indiana. A Milwaukee native, Borowski is a graduate of Marquette University.