MADISON – In Wisconsin elections, the battle isn’t just about campaigns and candidates, it’s also about lines on a map. These lines, used to identify state and federal legislative districts for voters and candidates, are redrawn every 10 years based on data from the U.S. Census. Even by the usual partisan standards, the fight over redistricting in 2011 was exceptional.
“2011 was a particularly contentious time in Wisconsin politics,” said WPR’s Senior Director of Content Noah Ovshinsky. And in all the chaos, another process played out, largely behind closed doors. It had enormous consequences for Wisconsin. ‘Mapped Out’ tells that story, and gives us a preview of what might be in store as political maps are redrawn this year.”
“WPR Reports: Mapped Out,” a new podcast from Wisconsin Public Radio, is a six-part investigative series that dives into how things went a decade ago and how those decisions continue to affect the balance of political power in the state today.
Produced and hosted by WPR’s award-winning reporters Bridgit Bowden and Shawn Johnson, “Mapped Out” takes a look at the past to give listeners the context and background to understand how redistricting is unfolding today.
“Redistricting is something that you may not think about every day, but it’s actually one of the most consequential political processes there is,” Bowden said. “If you want to understand the last 10 years of Wisconsin’s political history, you have to understand what happened with the maps.”
In preparing for the series, Bowden and Johnson conducted dozens of interviews, pored over hundreds of court records, and reviewed hours of archival audio of hearings, speeches and protests. The result is a sound-rich, research-driven podcast that tells a vital story for listeners in Wisconsin and beyond.
“Mapped Out” is available beginning Sept. 29 on wpr.org/mappedout and wherever podcasts are available. A free, live virtual event is scheduled for Oct. 14, offering a behind-the-scenes look at “Mapped Out” and a discussion with its creators.