Wausau Pilot & Review

Shereen Siewert, founder and publisher of Wausau Pilot & Review, is one of 10 finalists for the Doris O’Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship from the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University.

Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation received dozens of applications from across the United States focused on diverse topics. Siewert proposed a series of stories delving into the history of environmental contamination in Wausau neighborhoods and its long-term implications on residential health.

The annual fellowship is made possible through a three-year grant from the Allegheny Foundation. This is the second year of the fellowship/

“Community-based journalism is disappearing across the country, and it is critical that we work to reverse that trend,” said Andrew Conte, director of the Center. “At a time when we have more tools than ever to access information, it is becoming increasingly difficult to support news at a local level.”

A panel of distinguished judges with credentials in innovative and investigative journalism evaluated applicants based on value, innovation, engagement, diversity and ability. That panel includes:

  • Brad Bumsted, bureau chief of The Caucus, a watchdog publication based in Pennsylvania that focuses on state issues.
  • Andrew Fraser, senior publishing editor for The Wall Street Journal.
  • Jasmine Goldband, Photo Editor for the Houston Chronicle
  • Amber Hunt, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer and host of the podcasts Accused and Crimes of the Centuries.
  • Tory Parrish, Business Reporter for Newsday
  • Guy Wathen, Multimedia Editor for the San Francisco Chronicle

Doris O’Donnell, the namesake of the award, was a pioneering journalist who began her 50-year career during World War II for the Cleveland News. She joined the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1959, covering the Sam Sheppard murder trial that inspired “The Fugitive,” and traveling to Dallas for the aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination and the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. O’Donnell was hired by Richard Scaife in 1973 to write for the Greensburg Tribune-Review. She worked there for 15 years before returning to Cleveland.

“Doris was a trailblazer for the generations of women in this business who came after her,” said Sue McFarland, Greensburg editor for the Tribune-Review, who edited O’Donnell’s work. “She fought long and hard to cover some of the biggest stories of her time, and erase the notion that some assignments were off-limits to many talented journalists based purely on their gender.”

Winners will be announced next week.