The Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation has partnered with the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance to present a one-day reporting seminar aimed at helping journalists better navigate local government data and documents.
“Reporting on Local Govnerment in Wisconsin,” which will be held July 20 in Madison, will include discussion on a wide variety of governmental bodies, including counties, cities, villages, towns, school districts and technical colleges. Learn how to untangle this often confusing web and get tips on how to break it down for your readers.
Registration is $75 and the deadline to register is July 13.
Untangling Local Government
Reporters encounter a variety of local governments in Wisconsin, each with specific governance structures, responsibilities and funding sources. This session will provide a bird’s eye view so you know what they do, who’s in charge and where their money comes from.
Math for Journalists
This session offers a refresher course on basic math: calculating percentages, understanding the differences between average and median, and what questions to ask about polling and surveys.
Understanding Budgets: How to Not Get Snookered by the Numbers
We take the mystery out of local government budgets by explaining when and how they’re prepared (It’s predictable!), what technical budget terms really mean (It’s simple!) and how property taxes are calculated (It’s easy!).
The State Budget and Your Community
Once you understand how local governments are funded and what they do, the state-local relationship becomes clearer. We provide real-world examples of how state budget decisions impact local residents.
Todd Berry has been president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) since 1994. WISTAX, and Berry, fervently believe that, more than ever, voters and taxpayers need objective, factual information about their government. Prior to joining the Alliance, Berry combined private business experience with service in state and local government. For 10 years, he was a marketing executive for one of the state’s oldest food manufacturers. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, he was Wisconsin’s Assistant Secretary of Revenue. Berry holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from UW-Madison and master’s degrees from Harvard University and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Dale Knapp, research director for the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, has been with WISTAX since 2000. Previously, he was a regional labor market economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development where he specialized in labor-shortage issues and economic forecasting. Before that, he spent more than seven years in the private sector in corporate sales positions in Wisconsin. A UW-Whitewater graduate, Knapp holds a master’s degree in Economics from UW-Madison and completed the Master’s in Applied Economics program at Marquette University. He is A.B.D. in Economics at UW-Madison.
David Callender is the communications director for the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. He oversees the Alliance’s media relations, civic education, public outreach efforts and contributes to its online and print publications. For more than 20 years, he was an award-winning journalist who covered Wisconsin politics and state and local government. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The London Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Capital Times. Prior to joining WISTAX, he spent seven years advising state agencies, the legislature, state Supreme Court, Congress and local officials on public policy. His areas of expertise include taxation and finance, public safety, the courts and labor relations. David has also taught political science at Edgewood College in Madison. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in political science from the UW-Madison.