The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Wisconsin Watch

Madison, Wisconsin, United StatesFounded in 2009Trust Project news partner since

Wisconsin Watch is a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on government integrity and quality of life issues.

Run by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin Watch strives to increase the transparency of official actions, intensify the search for solutions to governmental and societal problems, strengthen democracy and raise the quality of investigative journalism. Stories are published on its site and distributed statewide, as well as nationally through a partnership with The Associated Press.

The Center trains both professional and aspiring journalists in investigative techniques, involving them in investigations that they say seek to protect the interests of people in vulnerable circumstances, expose wrongdoing and deficiencies in systems, and explore solutions to problems.

Courtesy of Wisconsin Watch.
Wisconsin Watch

Best Practices Policies

Go to the Best Practices page


The mission of Wisconsin Watch is to increase the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy. Its work focuses on  Wisconsin and the issues affecting the people and quality of life throughout the state.

See the Policy


The Center’s ethics standards include the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, with an additional conflict of interest policy and a diversity statement. Wisconsin Watch also adheres to a Policy on Financial Support, which requires that the Center’s news coverage be independent of donors and that all providers of revenue will be publicly identified. As a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, the Center is expected to disclose information about donors and financial practices, produce nonpartisan investigative journalism and apply high journalistic standards for accuracy and fairness.

See the Policy

Ownership & Funding

Wisconsin Watch is produced by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization that is primarily funded through grants from foundations and donations from individuals and corporations. Additional revenue is obtained through sponsorships of its events and activities, and from earned income — payments for providing services such as fact-checking, collaborating with students or producing investigative journalism projects.

More than 850 individuals, foundations, news organizations and others have contributed financially to the center since its launch. As a matter of policy, funders exercise no control over the center’s editorial decisions, and all funders are publicly identified.

See the Policy

Diverse Voices

The center recognizes that its mission and society in general are strengthened by respecting individuals’ cultural traditions, beliefs and viewpoints. The center further acknowledges that reliable information about key issues must be accessible to all.

See the Policy


As per its policy, Wisconsin Watch pledges to correct errors promptly and openly, fixing the story and noting on the page what has been corrected. As most news outlets do, Wisconsin Watch distinguishes between corrections (for mistakes) and clarifications (for vague or misleading content).

See the Policy

Unnamed Sources

The center believes the public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability. Wisconsin Watch says it identifies sources and in cases where someone requests anonymity it has these policies:

  • Journalists always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made and keep promises.
  • Any use of anonymous sourcing must be specifically approved by a top editor such as the managing editor or executive director.
  • Direct quotes from anonymous sources should be used rarely, and only when such quotes are pivotal.
  • At least one editor must know the specific identity of any anonymous source. 

See the Policy

The Trust Project

The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations building standards of transparency and working with technology platforms to affirm and amplify journalism’s commitment to transparency, accuracy, inclusion and fairness so that the public can make informed news choices. It was founded and is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman.

Our Funders

Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, was our original funder, through the Trustworthy Journalism Initiative of Craig Newmark Philanthropies. Google followed with their financial support. Our funders also have included Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Facebook. Funders. Trust Project policies and the Trust Indicators are shaped and enforced independently from our funding sources.

Awards & Recognitions

Follow our Social



© The Trust Project. All rights reserved.
The Trust Project® and Trust Indicators® are exclusive trademarks of The Trust Project.