Pulitzer Center helps Journal Sentinel ‘aim even higher’ on Dairyland in Crisis project

Support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting has given a big boost this year to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel project on Wisconsin’s struggling dairy industry.

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The Pulitzer Center on Tuesday shared a look at its “Bringing Stories Home” initiative, aimed at helping local and regional news outlets do ambitious public service reporting. When the program kicked off, the Journal Sentinel went to the Pulitzer Center with a big idea and a plea for support.

Led by reporter Rick Barrett, journalists from the Journal Sentinel and USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin have undertaken a yearlong project following dairy farms of different sizes at a time when the state’s rural landscape and cultural identity could be altered permanently. The additional funding has allowed the scope of the project to broaden significantly.

“The support of the Pulitzer Center … has been essential,” said George Stanley, Journal Sentinel editor and WNA Board member. “The grant money helped fund reporting trips to see dairy operations in Canada, Mexico, and Vietnam.”

“We always aim high on our projects and investigations,” he said. But the Pulitzer Center’s support “allowed us to aim even higher.”

Pulitzer Center funding typically is about $10,000 to $12,000 for editorial and the same amount for community research. The Center’s focus, according to executive editor Indira Lakshmanan, is about taking a newsroom’s current resources and “figuring out what they can do best with them.”

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