About

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WI Voices, Inc., with the website WIvoices.org, is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 non-profit entity of citizen journalists incorporated in January 2012.  Donations are tax-exempt. EIN: 45-4463087

 

Mission

Our mission is to provide a stage for regular people to tell their stories about how they are affected by public policy choices.

People are given a forum to explain the real life impact of policy choices on their lives.  It also provides a crucial opportunity for the public to hear the perspective of an ordinary person.  When we are heard, frustration decreases and empowerment increases.  WI Voices provides information required by a healthy democracy—but that is largely unavailable in our communities.

We have amassed a living library of voices, as WI Voices stories have explored issues in BadgerCare; child protection; domestic abuse; family farm preservation; frac sand mining; hunger; homelessness; iron mining; labor relations and collective bargaining in public employment; pension systems; public education funding; Tribal rights; immigrant and inner city issues; health care funding; and voter rights.  We continually strive to represent the diversity and magnitude of the human experience.

WI Voices’ stories have been referenced, cited, linked to or republished by MSNBC, Huffington Post, Multiple Editor’s Pick on Open Salon, The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Pioneer Press, Hudson Patch, Forum Communications, and others.  WI Voices stories have garnered more than 120,000 hits…not too shabby.

 

Our turn to talk!  The New Richmond News published an article on us HERE and Sly in the Morning interviewed us on his morning radio show HERE.

Methodology


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Film Festival; 5.4.13 Whitehall, WI

 

WI Voices is a group of citizen journalists who have joined their skills in interviewing, videography, research, writing, and web-based communications, and provide reliable and relevant information about Wisconsin government to people.

WI Voices interviews people throughout the year, at locations throughout Wisconsin. The WI Voices team conducts and video records interviews, performs research and fact checking, and prepares interviews for publication. Each person is provided an opportunity to review his or her story for approval before it is published online at WIvoices.org, to help ensure that the true sentiment was captured.

WI Voices honors people and their lives—people share their own stories in the richness of their own words. These are the stories and voices that we need to hear. They tell us what is happening to our families, neighbors, and communities. Hearing these stories and voices moves us to join in the democratic process.

Our Team:

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Heidi Herron, Executive Director

Heidi began collecting the stories of people around her when she was a child, intrigued by how other people experienced the world.  This led her to interview and record her grandfather’s WWII experiences and her grandmother’s tales as a teacher in a rural, one-room school-house. In early 2011, Heidi began interviewing people about how their lives were affected by public policy choices and started publishing the interviews online.  For WI Voices, Heidi is also the interviewer and producer.

Before coming home to Wisconsin, Heidi taught in environmental education programs set in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Rocky Mountains of Montana. Heidi has a B.A. in Native American Studies, and is a certified teacher in Broad Field Social Studies including political science, economics, history, psychology, geography, and sociology. She is also a private tutor in a northwestern Wisconsin community where she lives with her husband and young sons.

Art JuchnoVideographer/video editor

Art began his award-winning career in video and television in 1974, and has earned multiple Emmys, as well as honors from the New York and Chicago International Film Festivals and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For WI Voices, Art does photography, videography, video editing, and helps manage the website.

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Art is experienced in media project management and educational multi-media production, and worked as a Senior Producer/Director for Wisconsin Public Television and at the University Wisconsin–Stout. Art has an M.S. in Media Technology, and a B.A. in Psychology. Now Art is semi-retired, choosing to remain involved with public affairs and arts related productions that pique his interest.

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Ramona Gunter, Researcher

Ramona first developed an interest in how social and political forces shape peoples’ lives when taking an undergraduate political science course.  This interest deepened with later experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Apartheid Southern Africa, a teacher in a prison-based college program, and a volunteer at a food shelf.  For WI Voices, Ramona provides context and background information through research on topics that inform the individual lives which are given a voice through WI Voices.

Ramona has a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics, an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies.  Her research on how structural and sociocultural factors shape students’ educational experiences has been published in peer-reviewed journals.  Ramona has worked on community-based research projects for UW-River Falls Survey Research Center where she also works as a math lecturer.  Ramona lives in River Falls, WI with her husband and son.