Jim Malewitz named Wisconsin Watch investigations editor

Courtesy of Katie McMullen

Jim Malewitz is the new investigations editor for Wisconsin Watch. He has pursued a career almost exclusively in nonprofit, public affairs journalism — with an eye toward cross-newsroom collaboration. He most recently covered the environment for Michigan’s nonprofit Bridge Magazine, earning numerous statewide awards.

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After a nationwide search, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has chosen Jim Malewitz, a veteran of nonprofit journalism, as investigations editor. 

In his new role, which begins on Monday, Malewitz will help run the Wisconsin Watch newsroom along with Managing Editor Dee J. Hall and Digital and Multimedia Director Coburn Dukehart. He will join a leadership team that includes Executive Director Andy Hall, Associate Director Lauren Fuhrmann, Membership Manager Emily Neinfeldt and Senior Strategic Adviser Barbara Johnson. 

Adding Malewitz to the award-winning Wisconsin Watch staff will boost the number and range of investigative reports, which are distributed for free to the news outlets in Wisconsin and nationwide, reaching tens of millions of readers in dozens of states and Canada 

The Center, which began operating in 2009, is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization funded primarily by donations from the public and foundation grants and based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

“Jim is the right person at the right time for this job,” Dee J. Hall said. “His experience in working for small and large nonprofits gives him the background and temperament to help us as we grow quickly and tackle even more ambitious projects, often in collaboration with other news organizations.”

Malewitz has pursued a career almost exclusively in nonprofit, public affairs journalism — with an eye toward cross-newsroom collaboration. He most recently covered the environment for Michigan’s nonprofit Bridge Magazine, earning numerous statewide awards. 

That included the Michigan Press Association’s 2018 award for Freedom of Information Reporting for probing the close ties between state regulators and Enbridge Energy as Michigan decided the fate of the company’s Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Malewitz also worked with Wisconsin Watch this year to examine the nexus between Great Lakes shipping and the lake-to-lake spread of invasive species.

Malewitz worked from 2013 to 2017 at the Texas Tribune, advancing from the energy beat to the nonprofit’s investigative team. He covered an oil boom and bust, cross-state border squabbles and invasive zebra mussels — as well as voting and labor rights. In 2015, he facilitated an award-winning collaboration with the Houston Chronicle documenting how U.S. oil refiners failed to curb workplace deaths in the decade following one of the most studied industrial disasters in American history. 

Before moving to Texas, Malewitz covered energy and the environment for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C. He also interned at the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette.

Malewitz graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa in 2009, where he majored in political science and played varsity baseball. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa in 2011. 

There, Malewitz wrote a thesis on emerging trends in nonprofit news and assisted his mentor — Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Stephen J. Berry — in launching the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. He currently serves on the Iowa Center’s board of directors and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of Environmental Journalists. 

Malewitz is a Michigan native. His wife, Katie, hails from the forests of Phillips, Wisconsin. She is reported to be thrilled to be back in her home state.

About the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism: The Center is increasing the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative reporting in Wisconsin, while training current and future generations of investigative journalists. Its work fosters an informed citizenry and strengthens democracy. Wisconsin Watch, the Center’s news outlet, has produced nearly 380 reports that have been published, aired, broadcast or cited by more than 850 newspapers, radio and TV stations and news websites in Wisconsin and nationwide, reaching a total estimated audience of nearly 95 million people. All financial support is publicly acknowledged to protect the integrity of the journalism. A contract with the UW-Madison provides office space in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication and requires the Center to hire paid student interns and serve as a resource to faculty and students. 

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