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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Panel of Judges


Head shot of J Peter Burgess

J. Peter Burgess is Professor of Philosophy at the Ecole Normal Supérieure in Paris where he studies the relationship between culture, technology, politics and values. Burgess grew up in the U.S. Midwest and earned degrees from the University of Colorado, Iowa and Chicago, and Columbia University, then continued graduate studies in Germany and France before settling in Norway to raise a family. He moved to Paris in 2016 to take his current post. 


headshot of Robert Gebeloff

Robert Gebeloff is a projects reporter at The New York Times specializing in data journalism. He works on stories that blend traditional reporting with investigative and social science techniques. His reporting on how the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated racial disparities was part of the coverage awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, and he has twice been a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of the legal system. He teaches data journalism as an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Before joining The Times in 2008, he worked at regional newspapers in New Jersey and Michigan and graduated from UW-Madison in 1991 with degrees in journalism and political science.


Jill Geisler is the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago. She also serves as the Freedom Forum Institute Fellow in Women’s Leadership, heading its Power Shift Project. Geisler teaches and coaches newsroom leaders worldwide. She spent 16 years guiding the leadership and management programs of the Poynter Institute. She is the author of the book “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” writes a management column for the Columbia Journalism Review, and produces the podcast: “Q&A: Leadership and Integrity in the Digital Age.” Her first career was in broadcast journalism, as a reporter, anchor, and one of the first female TV news directors in the United States at WITI-TV in Milwaukee. She has been inducted into multiple media halls of fame. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UW–Madison and a masters in leadership studies from Duquesne University.


Headshot of Mike Gousha

Mike Gousha serves as a distinguished fellow in law and public policy at Marquette University Law School, where he explores key public policy issues through his work at the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education. An award-winning journalist, he has been the sole moderator of numerous televised political debates held at the Law School, including the final debate of Wisconsin’s historic 2012 recall election for governor. Gousha recently completed an 11-year stint as contributing anchor and political analyst at WISN-TV in Milwaukee and hosted the statewide political program, UpFront with Mike Gousha. Prior to joining Marquette in 2007, he had a 25-year career with WTMJ-TV, where he served as lead anchor and covered politics. He also is the co-producer of a PBS documentary that aired nationally in the summer of 2020, recounting the nearly half-century that Milwaukee was led by socialist mayors.

Gousha is a member of the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame, as well as the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He received the Associated Press’ Carol Brewer Award for long-term contributions to broadcast journalism in Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Journalism School’s Distinguished Public Service Award. Gousha also is the recipient of the United Community Center’s Friends of the Hispanic Community Award and the Milwaukee Urban League’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Legacy Award. He graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in journalism.


Carrie Johnson is a Justice Correspondent for the Washington Desk. She covers a wide variety of stories about justice issues, law enforcement and legal affairs for NPR’s flagship programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she will be a Nieman Foundation Fellow at Harvard University. Prior to coming to NPR in 2010, Johnson worked at the Washington Post for 10 years, when she closely observed the FBI, the Justice Department and criminal trials of the former leaders of Enron, HealthSouth and Tyco. Earlier in her career, she wrote about courts for the weekly publication Legal Times. Her work has been honored with awards from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She has been a finalist for the Loeb award for financial journalism and for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for team coverage of the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Benedictine University in Illinois.


Kathryn McGarr headshot

Kathryn McGarr is an historian and assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of City of Newsmen: Public Lies and Professional Secrets in Cold War Washington (University of Chicago Press 2022) and The Whole Damn Deal: Robert Strauss and the Art of Politics (Public Affairs 2011). Her research focuses on twentieth-century U.S. political history with an emphasis on media, social networks, and gender. She has a Ph.D. in history from Princeton and a masters in journalism from the Columbia Journalism School.


Headshot of Manu Raju

Manu Raju is CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, covering Capitol Hill and campaign politics. Raju is a veteran reporter in Washington, having previously served as a top Capitol Hill correspondent at Politico for seven years. Prior to his time at Politico, Raju reported for The Hill newspaper, Congressional Quarterly and Inside Washington Publishers. He has long been a frequent guest on political talk shows on TV and radio.

Raju has won multiple journalism awards for his reporting on the major battles consuming Washington and his coverage of campaign politics. In 2012, Raju was part of a team of four reporters who won the White House Correspondents Association’s prestigious Merriman Smith award for presidential reporting under deadline pressure for their coverage of the debt ceiling crisis. In 2015, Raju also was awarded first prize by the Society of Professional Journalists in D.C. for beat coverage of the 2014 midterm elections, and a Folio: Eddie Award for a feature profile on Senator Elizabeth Warren. In 2017, Raju won the Joan Shorenstein Barone award, given annually for best congressional reporting by the Radio and Television Correspondent Association. Raju got his start in media working at the student newspaper The Badger Herald at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his alma mater.


Chuck Stokes is the editorial/public affairs director for WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 in Detroit, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as moderator and producer of Spotlight on the News, Michigan’s longest-running weekly news and public affairs show. Before he became Channel 7’s editorial/public affairs director, Stokes worked as the station’s executive producer of special projects in news. And prior to joining WXYZ-TV, Stokes was employed at WTVF-TV in Nashville, Tennessee, as a producer and on-air reporter. Stokes has accumulated a long list of personal awards and achievements including 12 Emmys for editorial reporting and two Emmys for documentary reporting. In 2001, Stokes received the “The Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a past president of both the National Conference of Editorial Writers and its Foundation. In 2011, Stokes was inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame and in 2012 he received the “Life Membership Award” from the Association of Opinion Journalists (formerly called the National Conference of Editorial Writers).


Head shot of Audrey Thibert

Audrey Thibert is a junior at UW-Madison pursuing degrees in journalism and anthropology with a certificate in Middle East Studies. Audrey previously worked at Isthmus as a reporting intern and served as the 2022-23 managing editor at The Badger Herald, where she is now a voting member on the Board of Directors. She is the 2023 University of Wisconsin – Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium Reporting Fellow and the recipient of the inaugural Anthony Shadid Memorial Scholarship for International Reporting. She hopes to pursue a career in foreign correspondence, with a focus on people who are impacted by conflict, but often forgotten in mainstream media coverage.