Our Mission

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.

Staff

Director

Dave Umhoefer

Dave Umhoefer

Dave is 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.

 

Program Assistants

Robyn DiGiacinto

Robyn Di Giacinto

Robyn is a graduate student in Digital Communication Strategies and a proud home-grown Milwaukeean. She graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor's in Political Science in spring of 2017. Her work has been featured by outlets including Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, The Waukesha Freeman, Interlochen Public Radio, Street Sense Media and the Marquette Student Film Festival.

 

Eliana Reed is a senior working towards a degree in public relations and marketing.

Lucie Sullivan is a senior in journalism.

 

 

Key Partners

George Stanley

George Stanley

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

Greg Borowski

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.