NEW News Lab partners awarded for in-depth coverage of Northeast Wisconsin

By Erika Ritchie
Staff, Greater Green Bay Community Foundation

Journalists with the Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) News Lab were awarded top prizes at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s 2022 Better Newspaper Contest, for their work advancing in-depth local reporting.

The NEW News Lab is a collaborative effort launched in 2021 with funding from Microsoft, in partnership with the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. It includes six Northeast Wisconsin news outlets: Green Bay Press-Gazette, The Press Times, Fox Valley 365, Appleton Post-Crescent, Wisconsin Public Radio, and Wisconsin Watch. Their mission is to help residents explore ways to improve their communities and lives – and strengthen democracy.

All three newspapers within the partnership – the Post-Crescent, the Press-Gazette, and The Press Times – were recognized with awards for extended coverage on homelessness and lack of affordable housing, the impact of changing regional demographics, and the special education system in Wisconsin.

The contest received 2,230 entries from 106 newspapers. Awards were separated into categories by readership size and daily versus weekly publications.

NEW News Lab partners and journalists awarded

First Place Awards:

    • Reporters and editors for the Press-Gazette and the Post-Crescent for ongoing/extended coverage for their work on the “Home is Here” series, which used U.S. Census Bureau numbers to look at how the region is changing demographically.
    • Reporter Jeff Bollier for enterprise/interpretive reporting. Bollier looked at the affordable housing crisis in Northeast Wisconsin as part of the “Unaffordable: No Place to Call Home” series.
    • Heather Graves, Janelle Fisher, and Josh Staloch for The Press Times for ongoing/extended coverage of homelessness, including the six-part “Disregarded” series, which took a deep-dive look at the state of homelessness in Brown County. Judges commented, “this compelling series should move the reader to action on one of the community’s most-pressing social needs.”

Second Place Awards:

    • Reporter Heather Graves for the The Press Times for reporting on local education for the “Just as important” series, which focused on the special education system in Wisconsin and its impact on teachers and families.

Third Place Awards:

    • Heather Graves, Cody Popp, Mike Hollihan, and Rich Palzewic of The Press Times for General Excellence.

Honorable Mention:

    • The Appleton Post-Crescent for General Excellence in the daily division.
    • Heather Graves and Lea Kopke for The Press Times for ongoing/extended coverage of special education through the “Just as important” series.

Over the past two years, NEW News Lab funding has allowed each of the six news partners to expand their staff and deepen their commitment to public-service reporting.

All articles produced through the NEW News Lab are free to readers without a subscription.

To learn more about the NEW News Lab and find the latest articles produced by News Lab journalists, visit


All Impact Stories →