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.
Wyatt Massey is a reporter and Public Policy Forum Fellow at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. He is a senior at Marquette University, studying writing-intensive English and advertising. Prior to his current position, Massey worked as a features intern at CNN in Atlanta and a reporting intern for NNS. He is pursuing a career as a human rights journalist.
Massey, from Hollandale, Wis., is a co-coordinator of the student service organization Midnight Run. In his free time, he enjoys running, reading and cooking. He is passionate about issues of human rights, social justice and international relations.
Matthew Wisla is a reporter and past Public Policy Forum Fellow at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. He graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University, and has worked as an associate editor and editor for several trade and business publications.
Prior to joining NNS, Wisla worked in a range of corporate communications roles in the U.S. and overseas. Currently, he’s a master’s degree student at the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University.
Sophia Boyd is a reporting intern for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She is a senior at Marquette University pursuing a double major in journalism and Spanish. Boyd aspires to be a bilingual reporter and cover Hispanic issues after she graduates. She fell in love with the Spanish language and culture after she spent a semester abroad last year in Madrid, where she hopes to eventually live.
She was the student government reporter for the Marquette Wire and has been promoted to serve as the assistant opinions editor this semester.
Boyd is from the Washington D.C. area. She enjoys eating at Milwaukee’s restaurants, especially for brunch, and reading or writing at coffee shops.
Morgan Hughes is a reporting intern at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She is a sophomore studying journalism and political science at Marquette University. Upon graduation, Hughes plans to join the Peace Corps.
Hughes writes an opinion column for the Marquette Wire. She has interned at the Waushara Argus in Wautoma, Wisconsin, where she learned about and practiced local reporting.
In her free time, Hughes enjoys drawing, painting, reading, playing four-chord songs on the guitar and exploring the beautiful city of Milwaukee.
Molly Watts is a social media intern at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She is a senior at Marquette University studying Advertising and Digital Media. She aims to work with an agency on travel promotion when she graduates, and she has a special interest in the problem-solving power of communication.
Molly is skilled in public speaking and presentation. She is a member of the Marquette Advertising Club.
In her free time, she enjoys writing, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Emmy A. Yates is photography intern at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She is a senior studying journalism at Marquette University, where she hopes to combine her love for both photography and writing to become a photojournalist.
Emmy is an online representative and volunteer for Vulture Space, which is a nonprofit community bicycle collective in downtown Milwaukee. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
In her free time she enjoys cycling, bike tours, bicycle mechanics, reading, writing short plays and traveling.