A fellowship program to increase news coverage of public policy issues in Milwaukee has been launched by the Public Policy Forum and Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University.
The program will provide a stipend to two graduate student fellows each semester to work for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, an award-winning online professional news source that covers central city communities in Milwaukee.
Edgar Mendez, a Milwaukee native and south side resident, has been named the first Public Policy Forum fellow. A second fellow will begin in the spring. Each will spend two semesters working for NNS on pieces related to public policy issues.
Mendez has worked for NNS since its launch in March 2011. Prior to joining NNS he was a feature writer for El Conquistador newspaper in Milwaukee. A graduate student at Marquette, he earned his undergraduate degree from UW-Milwaukee with a double major in Journalism and Media Communications and Sociology. Mendez, who is bilingual, has reported and written many articles for NNS on issues of particular concern to the Latino community.
“We are excited to partner with Diederich and NNS on this new effort to enhance both the quality and quantity of local government reporting in Milwaukee,” said Public Policy Forum President Rob Henken.
“By giving budding reporters the opportunity to work in the halls of government under the tutelage of professional journalists and policy researchers, we hope not only to augment their training, but also to produce high-quality news coverage of local government issues that might otherwise go uncovered,” Henken added.
“The fellowship program will allow NNS to cover public policy issues that are important to central city communities in much greater depth. It is a perfect match for Edgar’s skills and interests,” said Sharon McGowan, NNS editor and project director.
NNS is a project of United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee and is funded by the Zilber Family Foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with in-kind support from Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication. The Public Policy Forum fellowship is funded by the Argosy Foundation.