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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. Read more.

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.

Emily Knepple

Emily Knepple is from Highlands, New Jersey and is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with anticipated majors in Journalism and French. Emily is interested in the diverse and evolving landscape of journalism ethics. She finds questions of integrity and objectivity to be very important and she’s looking forward to learning more about how we can create a sustainable industry for future journalists. Her passion for understanding why we cover the stories we do continues to drive her interest in journalism. Emily has served as the Arts editor at the Daily Cardinal and currently co-hosts a radio show at WSUM 91.7 FM. She also serves as a communications intern at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, where she covers students, faculty and alumni and assists with multi-media content for the website.

Erin McGroarty

Erin McGroarty

Erin McGroarty is a first-year graduate student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW–Madison. Erin holds an interdisciplinary B.A. in journalism, history and political science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Erin has reported on policy, government, climate change, social justice movements and the COVID-19 pandemic for Alaska’s second largest newspaper for the past three and a half years. Her interests include racial and gender equity in journalism, coverage of national and international social justice and human rights movements and policy affecting the LGBTQ+ community. Erin has been recognized for her reporting by the Alaska Press Club and Alaska Professional Communicators and was accepted as an attendee to the Reynolds Journalism Institute Women in Journalism conference in 2019.

Tahereh Rahimi

Tahereh Rahimi is a Ph.D. student in the School of Journalism and 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 University of Tehran, Iran. She received her BA degree 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 first-year graduate student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW–Madison 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 half years. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking and trying new restaurants. She has a cat named Joan Kittion in honor of Joan Didion.

head shot of Zehra Topbas

Zehra Topbas

Zehra Topbas is a junior at UW-Madison pursuing a degree in political science and journalism with a minor in Italian. This summer she worked with Lucas Wiscons on his dissertation involving research on criminal court proceedings. 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 is a senior at UW-Madison studying journalism and communications arts with a certificate in Digital studies. 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 works as a podcast editor for the UW-Madison’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and is the current art director for EMMIE Magazine.

Isaac Alter

Isaac Alter 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, where he continues to work. He also has interned at CNN as a member of the show team for CNN Right Now.

Lauryn Azu

Lauryn Azu

Lauryn Azu is a senior at UW-Madison double majoring in journalism and Latin American, Caribbean, & Iberian Studies with a certificate in digital studies. She also serves as copy editor for The Black Voice. This summer 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 writer, 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, Science News, Spectrum and The Pew Charitable Trusts on topics ranging from ecology to autism to finance to archaeology to space. In September 2019, Cadence brought her writing and research interests to INCITE, a social science research center at Columbia University, where she works across myriad projects.

Dana Brandt

Dana Brandt

Dana Brandt is a senior at UW-Madison studying journalism and English. She is interested in investigative and community reporting and has previously worked at The Daily Cardinal as college news editor and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as an investigative intern. When she’s not reading or writing, Dana can be found listening to music or painting.

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 PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, where her research interests include conflict reporting, media effects, and political communication. She received her BA in journalism from UW-Madison in 2016 and served as the assistant director of the African Studies Program at UW-Madison between 2016-2019. 

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Elise Goldstein

Conference Fellow

Elise Goldstein is a graduate from the UW–Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication and hails from Cherry Hill, NJ. She is interested in creating solutions and opportunities through connection and collaboration. She previously worked in communications at The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and served as a research assistant with The Membership Puzzle Project’s Membership Guide. She currently works as an Associate Account Executive at ROKK Solutions in Washington, D.C. at the nexus of policy, politics and communication.

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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.

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly is an internationally-published journalist with dispatches from Washington, South Africa, Chicago and, of course, Wisconsin. Passionate about storytelling, he has reported on an array of topics, including Congress, state politics, health care, start-ups and more. Jack’s work has appeared nationally through McClatchyDC, United Press International, South Africa’s Mail & Guardian, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and more than a dozen other outlets.

Elizabeth Lang

Elizabeth Lang

pecializing in arts and culture by exploring how this discipline responds to a nation’s social, political and economic systems. In Costa Rica she was an Assistant Editor and Reporter for a local news media called The Tico Times. She also published her stories with Costa Rican media La Nación, DelfinoCR, and the NGO SIFAIS. Currently, she’s the only Costa Rican, Central American and Latin American in her cohort.

Claudia Jo Meyer-Samargia

Claudia Meyer-Samargia

Claudia Meyer-Samargia graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2019 as a Journalism and Communication Arts double major. She was a 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 their 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. Post- 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 new puppy, 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 platforms 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 and Mass Communication’s Baughman Senior Achievement Award. While at UW–Madison, he covered multiple athletics programs for the Daily Cardinal.

Headshot of Steven Potter

Steven Potter

Steven Potter began his reporting career in Milwaukee but now lives in his hometown of Madison. Now a producer for The Morning Show on Wisconsin Public Radio, he has been a reporter for many years with his work regularly sppearing in Isthmus, 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

Photo of Ellie Spadaccini

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 BA 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 works to engage 30+ higher-education institutions in his home state of Wisconsin as a Statewide Organizer at Civic Influencers, a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan organization whose mission is to increase young people’s civic power and strengthen institutional support for voting rights. Luke supports cohorts of Civic Influencers in this role, including 30-person cohorts in 2018 and 2020, to carry out this mission. In addition to his organizing work in Wisconsin, he chairs Civic Influencers’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Committee. Prior to this role, he worked with his municipal clerk to provide UW–Madison’s 40,000+ students with educational materials for the 2016 presidential election. Luke holds a Bachelor of Arts–Journalism from the 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.