Sharon McGowan, editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, is a reporter, writer, editor and teacher. She has a master’s degree from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and started her career as an investigative reporter and managing editor of The Chicago Reporter, a monthly publication covering race relations and poverty issues. She later was managing editor/assistant news director at all-news WBBM-AM, and then assignment manager for WBBM-TV, both CBS stations in Chicago.
McGowan and her husband, Jim, founded Complete Communications, Inc. in 1986. She is currently a faculty member at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. McGowan directed the graduate Introduction to Journalism program at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University and was an adjunct lecturer for more than 20 years. She has received awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television News Directors Association, Women in Communications and others.
The McGowans have two adult children. Their daughter, Jennifer, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, works in the field of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Their son, Joshua, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and works for the Circle of Service Foundation.
Dwayne Burtin is a web coordinator at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and manager of the NNS Lindsay Heights Community Page. A native Milwaukeean, he began his career in online communication in 2001 as web designer/ creative director at Homeboyz Interactive,and has a wealth of experience in online journalism and social media, as well as other interactive and digital media.
Burtin has participated several times in the Fight for Air Climb at the U.S. Bank Center, climbing 47 floors, or 1,034 steps, to benefit the American Lung Association.
Adam Carr is a web coordinator at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, as well as a freelance media producer. A proud product of Milwaukee Public Schools, he worked between 2008-2011 at 88Nine RadioMilwaukee as the community initiative producer, producing nearly 1,000 short-form audio stories on different facets of the Milwaukee community.
His work has received numerous local broadcasting awards, including the Milwaukee Press Club and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards for Excellence.
He continues to find new directions for his passion for and love of Milwaukee.
Jabril Faraj is a staff reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Raised in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, he is a graduate of MPS Riverside University High School and alumnus of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Prior to joining the NNS staff, Faraj wrote and reported for the Boulder Daily Camera, Colorado’s second-largest daily publication. He has also been published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Milwaukee BizTimes.
Since June 2014 he has explored the streets and neighborhoods of Milwaukee, meeting people and sharing their personal stories via milwaukeestories.org.
In 2013, he led a team in documenting Milwaukee’s street festivals, culminating in the launch of milwaukeestreetfestivals.com, the city’s first one-stop resource for summer culture and festival information.
Edgar Mendez is a beat reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, covering Clarke Square, the neighborhood in which he lives. Prior to joining the team at NNS he was a feature writer for El Conquistador Newspaper in Milwaukee, and a web writer/reporter for Scene262.com in Racine.
Mendez, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, earned his undergraduate degree from UW-Milwaukee, with a double major in Journalism and Media Communications and Sociology, and his master’s degree in Communication from Marquette University. He won a 2014 award from the Milwaukee Press Club for his article headlined “Black men bear the brunt of unequal enforcement of marijuana laws.” In 2008, he won a Society of Professional Journalists’ regional award for social columns dealing with diverse issues such as poverty, homelessness and racism.
His interests include scholastic research, social networking and the Green Bay Packers.
Brendan O’Brien is a staff reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. During his 15-year career as a reporter and editor, O’Brien has covered breaking news, politics and governmental affairs for several news outlets, including Thomson Reuters and the Racine Journal Times.
O’Brien has a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Robert La Follette School of Public Affairs, where he focused on social policy such as poverty, employment and housing.
O’Brien and his wife have three daughters.
Andrea Waxman is a staff reporter at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. A professional writer, she completed a graduate certificate in Digital Storytelling at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor for a community newspaper and taught English and Japanese in several area middle and high schools.
Waxman has lived in Milwaukee since 1981, but spent most of her early years living in Tokyo, where her father was stationed at the American embassy. She returned to Japan in 1986 and again in 1993 when her husband was there as a Fulbright scholar.
In her free time, Waxman enjoys theater, movies, music, ethnic food, cities, travel, reading — especially the news of the day — and all kinds of people. She is interested in working for social justice and contributing to the vitality of the city.
Sue Vliet is a volunteer photographer for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She attended Beloit College and UW-Madison, where she earned a B.A. in art history.
Vliet works as a freelance photographer specializing in portraits, especially of children and families, locations and art. She owns a small art card business featuring her photos of Milwaukee scenes, which are sold in area stores.
Vliet volunteers for a number of local organizations including Arts@Large; Riveredge Nature Center; MPS; Penfield Children’s Center; Schlitz Audubon Nature Center; and Extreme Moms Milwaukee.
Vliet and her husband have two adult children, Sally and Connor. Vliet is an avid gardener, reader, runner, cook and baker and also enjoys travel and her pets. She loves and is fascinated by the city of Milwaukee and is committed to working to support it.
Rebecca Carballo is a reporting intern for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She is a junior at Marquette University studying journalism and digital media.
After working as political and student government reporter for the Marquette Wire, Carballo discovered her passion for politics. She hopes to one day work as a political reporter at a newspaper or television station. In the fall she will be returning to the Wire to serve as assistant news editor.
In her free time Carballo enjoys running, reading and spending time with friends and family.
Casey DiNicola is a social media intern at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. He is a junior at Marquette University studying Corporate Communication and Marketing. He is originally from Lake Placid, N.Y., and hopes to start his own consulting agency in the Virgin Islands one day.
He has spent time as a management office intern in St. Thomas, and has recently been appointed to the position of executive online editor for the Marquette Wire.
In his free time, he can be found cooking, exercising or playing guitar.
Amelia Jones is a reporting intern for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She is a junior at Marquette University pursuing a major in journalism and double minor in digital media and French. Jones aspires to be a broadcast journalist.
She was a news anchor for the Marquette University Television Station and wrote for the arts and entertainment department for the Marquette Wire this year.
Jones is from the Kansas City area. She enjoys writing, watching documentaries, reading and spending time with her friends and family.