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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ethics Center Staff

Photo of Katy Culver

Kathleen Bartzen Culver

Director

Kathleen Culver joined the School of Journalism & Mass Communication in 1999 to help launch an innovative converged curriculum to prepare students for a changing media landscape. When Culver was advised early on that she was “preparing students for jobs that may not even exist yet,” she scarcely had a clue how quickly and massively the ground would shift. Read more.

Lindsay Palmer

Affiliated Faculty

Lindsay Palmer is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison. She studies global media ethics from a qualitative perspective, especially focusing on the cultural labor of conflict correspondents in the digital age. Read more.

Krista Eastman

Administrator

Krista Eastman is a writer and editor with expertise in university communications and external relations. As the administrator of the Center for Journalism Ethics, she assists with strategy, communication, event planning, and special projects.

CURRENT FELLOWS

Luke Cross

Luke Daniel Cross

Shadid Curriculum Fellow

Luke Daniel Cross is a Ph.D. student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW–Madison engaged in political communication and mass communication ethics research. He earned a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in journalism, both from University of South Florida. His academic interests are centered around transnational electoral information and political communication ethics. Read more.

Audrey Thibert headshot

Audrey Thibert

Audrey Thibert is a junior at UW-Madison pursuing a degree in journalism and anthropology with a certificate in Middle Eastern studies. She is the managing editor of the Badger Herald and recipient of the inaugural Anthony Shadid Memorial Scholarship. Audrey wants to pursue a career in foreign/conflict correspondence. She is passionate about telling the stories of everyday people who are impacted by conflict, yet often forgotten in mainstream media coverage.

head shot of Zehra Topbas

Zehra Topbas

Zehra Topbas is a senior at UW-Madison pursuing a degree in political science and strategic communications with a minor in Italian. She is currently an editorial intern with Madison Magazine and worked as a congressional intern for her Congressmen Ted Lieu this past summer. Right now, Zehra is in the process of researching and writing her senior thesis concerning redistricting and its effects on legislatures’ home styles. Zehra ultimately intends to pursue a legal career. She is interested in the intersection of law and media and making complex legal matters more accessible to the general public.

PAST FELLOWS

Bashir Aden

Bashir Aden

Bashir Aden is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and graduated from UW-Madison in 2021 with degrees in journalism and communication arts. He is interested in reporting on the nuances of digital media and culture, as well as an interest in visual storytelling. His focus is on investigating the growing social, economic and political influence of the internet and digital culture on our present lives. He worked as a podcast editor for the UW-Madison’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and was the art director for EMMIE Magazine.

Isaac Alter

Isaac Alter is a content syndication manager at TownNews, where he oversees their content exchange program. He graduated from UW–Madison in December of 2019 with a double major in journalism and political science. While in Madison he interned with State Senator Lena Taylor, UW–Madison Campus and Visitor Relations and madison.com. He also interned at CNN as a member of the show team for CNN Right Now.

Lauryn Azu

Lauryn Azu

Lauryn Azu graduated from UW–Madison in 2022 with degrees in journalism and Latin American, Caribbean, & Iberian Studies with a certificate in digital studies. She also served as copy editor for The Black Voice. She interned remotely with the Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy Institute at the University of Notre Dame as their audience engagement editor. She’s interested in studying media literacy, technology, ethics, and finding creative ways to tell stories that matter.

Shezad Baloch

Shezad Baloch

Shezad Baloch is a freelance journalist and communications specialist. He regularly contributes articles to Madison365 on minorities, international people, immigration, and people of color. He graduated with a research masters’ degree from UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He was a teaching assistant for the class Introduction to Mass Communication. Previously, he worked for The Express Tribune, one of Pakistan’s English-language newspapers published in collaboration with The New York Times. He also worked for UNICEF as a media consultant and for PTV-Bolan, a state-run Pakistani television network, as a host of a political and current affairs show. He holds a professional master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Baluchistan, Pakistan, and a certificate in journalism in the digital world from the International Academy of Journalism (Intajour) in Hamburg, Germany. He reported from Pakistan’s troubled region of Baluchistan for 8 years.  

Cadence Bambenek

Cadence Bambenek

Cadence Bambenek is a journalist, fact-checker and researcher most interested in how science and technology intersect with power and culture. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Cadence previously interned at Wisconsin State Journal, Business Insider, and Psychology Today. She now regularly fact-checks for outlets including Popular Science, Scientific American, and Rolling Stone on topics ranging from ecology to finance to psychology to climate. Cadence briefly brought her writing and research interests to INCITE, a social science research center at Columbia University, where she worked on the Obama Presidency Oral History Project. In 2021, she became a cofounder of Hothouse, a media outlet covering climate solutions. Modeled after NPR’s Planet Money, Hothouse publishes investigative journalism about the climate readers are excited to see in their inboxes. Hothouse’s original stories examine how to combat climate change, and what readers can do in their own lives.

Meagan Doll

Meagan Doll

Meagan Doll is a communication researcher with professional backgrounds in journalism, higher education administration, and African studies. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, where her research explores conflict reporting, media trust, and public opinion. She received her B.A. in journalism from UW-Madison in 2016 and served as the assistant director of the UW-Madison African Studies Program between 2016-2019. 

Head shot of Elise Goldstein

Elise Goldstein

Conference Fellow

Elise Goldstein graduated from the UW–Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication in 2021 and hails from Cherry Hill, NJ. She currently works at LinkedIn in Chicago, IL and has a strong passion for creating solutions and opportunities through connection and collaboration. She previously worked at a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. at the nexus of policy, politics and communication. She was a fellow in Spring 2021 and worked on programming and outreach for the Journalism Ethics & Local News Now conference. 

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Morgan Grunow

Morgan Grunow is from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in journalism and a certificate in environmental studies. When Morgan was a fellow, she focused on how broadcast media covers weather and climate change. Morgan is currently a senior communications associate at Spector-Roh Strategies, where she works with organizations to achieve progressive policy change in Wisconsin and defend and advance our democracy. Prior to her current role, Morgan was the communications manager for the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

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Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly reports on the Capitol and Wisconsin politics for the Capital Times in Madison. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Jack is a proud alumnus of both UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Prior to joining the Cap Times, Jack reported for Wisconsin Watch, where he worked on a team of journalists investigating the sentencing practices of an Outagamie County judge.

Emily Knepple

Emily Knepple is from Highlands, New Jersey and is the current Communications & Graphic Design Professional Intern for the Health & Wellness Team in the Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Division of The Walt Disney Company. During her time with the Center, she learned lifelong skills like the necessity of asking questions, constantly challenging your own perspective and always amplifying those around you. Knepple graduated from UW-Madison in May 2022 with her degree in Journalism & Mass Communication and a certificate in French. She served as a fellow throughout the 2021-2022 school year and will always hold her time as a Badger in the highest regard.

Elizabeth Lang

Elizabeth Lang

Elizabeth Lang is a Costa Rican award-winning multimedia journalist deeply interested in reporting and creating multimedia journalism about how arts and culture respond to a nation’s social, political, and economic systems. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and her master’s in journalism and mass communication with a specialization in arts and culture at UW-Madison.

Erin McGroarty

Erin McGroarty is a professional track graduate student in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at UW–Madison. Erin holds an interdisciplinary B.A. in journalism, history and political science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Before pursuing her master’s degree, Erin reported on policy, government, climate change, social justice movements and the COVID-19 pandemic for Alaska’s second largest newspaper for more than three years. Erin is currently specializing in reporting on prisons and policing in America, often through the lens of gender and neurodiversity. Erin’s reporting has been recognized by the Alaska Press Club and Alaska Professional Communicators. Her bylines can be found in the Juneau Empire, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Poynter and the Capital Times.

Claudia Jo Meyer-Samargia

Claudia Meyer-Samargia

Claudia Meyer-Samargia graduated from UW–Madison in May 2019 as a journalism and communication arts double major. She was fellow with the Center during her senior year, focusing on the ethics of news organizations covering their own harassment scandals. She currently works at NBC News in the public relations department working on all things TODAY, Nightly News with Lester Holt, Meet the Press and Dateline.

JENNA MYTTON

Jenna Mytton

Jenna Mytton graduated from UW–Madison in spring 2018 with a bachelor of arts in journalism. After graduation, she moved to the east side of Madison to start a career in social media marketing and strategy at Ideas That Evoke, where she currently works as an account executive. Outside of work her time is devoted to her dog, Frankie. 

Head shot of Camille Paskind

Camille Paskind

Camille Paskind is a creative associate at Wilson Dow, a production agency in Chicago. She designs and delivers events, creative concepts, and strategies for corporate events, product launches, communication plans, and other live and virtual experiences for companies around the world. She graduated from UW-Madison in May 2018, majoring in journalism with focuses on reporting and strategic communication and received certificates in French language and leadership. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and tending to her guinea pig, George, after finding him abandoned in Lincoln Park.

Ben Pickman head shot

Ben Pickman

Ben Pickman is currently a writer at Sports Illustrated. He contributes to both the website and magazine, writing original enterprise features about the NBA and WNBA as well as general breaking news stories. He has also appeared regularly on SI’s video platform to discuss his reporting and other topics around the sports world. Prior to that, he interned at CNN Sports where he wrote for CNN.com and helped produce CNN’s sports TV hits. The 2018 UW–Madison graduate double-majored in history and journalism, receiving the School of Journalism & Mass Communication’s Baughman Senior Achievement Award. While at UW–Madison, he covered multiple athletic programs for the Daily Cardinal.

Steven Potter

Steven Potter began his journalism career in Milwaukee but now works in his hometown of Madison. He’s a reporter for PBS Wisconsin and was previously a senior producer for Wisconsin Public Radio. Prior to his work in broadcast news, he spent many years as a print reporter with his byline appearing in Isthmus Newspaper, Madison Magazine, Discover magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other publications around the state. In May 2021, he graduated from UW–Madison with a master’s degree in journalism with a focus on multimedia reporting.

Tahereh Rahimi

Tahereh Rahimi is a Ph.D. student in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Her area of research includes journalism in Iran, cultural and critical studies, and the interplay of media and social movements. She has earned two master’s degrees: a media theory and research M.A. from SIU University and a cultural studies and media M.A. from the University of Tehran, Iran. She received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Allameh in Tehran. Before coming to the U.S., she worked for 14 years as a journalist for various media outlets in Iran.

head shot for Lydia Slattery

Lydia Slattery

Lydia is a graduate student in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication with an interest in reporting on labor and union issues. She received her undergraduate degree in journalism with a minor in social justice and welfare from Marquette University in 2018 then worked at the Oshkosh Northwestern as a reporter for two and a half years. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking and trying new restaurants. She has a cat named Joan Kitten in honor of Joan Didion.

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Ellie Spadaccini

Ellie Spadaccini graduated from UW–Madison in 2021 with a degree in journalism and Spanish, and is currently working at Tierra Encantada in Minneapolis as the company’s content and social media specialist. In her role, she produces video content, writes blog copy and assists in other marketing ventures. She keeps busy outside of work by reading constantly— she just finished Dune and she thinks it was worth it, despite its 800 page length.

Photo of Abigail Steinberg

Abigail Steinberg

Abigail Steinberg graduated from UW–Madison in 2021 with a B.A. in political science and journalism, and a certificate in public policy. She is interested in the First Amendment and how its freedoms influence civic discourse. Steinberg spent the fall of 2019 interning for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs and currently works for the House Democrats Issues Staff in the Illinois General Assembly.

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Francisco Velasquez

Francisco Velasquez is a reporter and business and economics student at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Fran’s work can be found in a number of outlets including the Center for Journalism Ethics, Wisconsin Watch and Borderless Magazine, where he reported on underrepresented communities. He is a former NBC News Now NAHJ summer fellow, where he worked as an editorial intern for CNBC Make It. He is now an editorial intern for Inc. Magazine. Fran is an Atlanta native, an everyday runner and an alum of UW-Madison.

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Luke Verdecchia

Luke Verdecchia is a communications specialist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Extension. In this role, Luke interacts with faculty and staff to create compelling stories about Extension’s work all over the state. Luke previously worked to support student election-engagement efforts at 30+ higher-education institutions in Wisconsin. Luke holds a BA in Journalism from UW–Madison.

Steven Wang

Steven Wang

Yidong (Steven) Wang is a PhD student at UW– Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He does research on media ecology, social change, and queer communities. He has a bachelor’s degree in international journalism from Hong Kong Baptist University. As a Center fellow, he wrote about the ethical issues in journalistic coverage of cannabis.

Headshot Natalie Yahr

Natalie Yahr

Natalie covers business and the local economy for The Capital Times. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison, and her work has been published by Wisconsin Watch, WWNO-FM, Scalawag, Columbia Journalism Review and the New York Times. In a previous life, she trained as a Spanish-English interpreter and supported adult students pursuing high school equivalencies. She’s a proud alum of Listening Post New Orleans and her college radio station, KDVS 90.3 in Davis, California.