Jennifer Gragg is a graduate student in the professional track of UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is focusing on entertainment journalism and hopes to eventually write film reviews for a newspaper or online publication. Gragg also writes for the the Madison Commons, a hyperlocal news website published through the journalism school. During her time at the Commons, she has covered stories on local events and organizations such as Madison Craft Beer Week and the Madison Parks Foundation.
Abigail Becker graduated from UW-Madison with a journalism degree focused on reporting and a certificate in digital studies. She served as this project’s managing editor and is currently working for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reporting on education in the state. Before graduating and joining the Center’s investigative reporting team, she interned at the Wisconsin State Journal’s city desk. While attending UW-Madison, Becker held several editorships at The Daily Cardinal, an independent student newspaper, including city news editor, social media manager and editor-in-chief. She also has previous experience writing for the Madison Commons, a hyperlocal website supported by UW-Madison’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, and the Sun Prairie Star.
Polo Rocha is an undergraduate at UW-Madison studying journalism and political science. This summer, he interned at the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit that covers Texas politics and policy. Before his stint in Austin, he reported for the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, a two-week program in Tucson with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He got started in journalism through reporting on state politics for The Badger Herald, later becoming the state news editor, social media coordinator, and most recently, managing editor. He’s also done a fellowship in D.C. with the National Newspaper Association, interned at Wispolitics.com and interned at Wisconsin Public Television’s weekly politics and public affairs program “Here and Now.”
Silke Schmidt is pursuing a professional M.A. degree at UW–Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with an emphasis on science writing. She has been a student science writer with theWisconsin Energy Institutesince fall 2014. She has also been an environmental reporting intern with theWisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and a freelance writer for the UW Carbone Cancer Center. Before she decided to change careers and become a professional science writer, Schmidt was a human genetics research professor at Duke University Medical Center.
Lew Friedland is the Publisher and Executive Editor of Madison Commons, which is approaching its tenth anniversary. Friedland is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the UW School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He studies how communication media can help communities and citizens build a stronger local civil society and democracy.
Lanni Solochek is a recent Badger graduate and served as the webmaster for Bridging the Gap. With dual degrees in Journalism and Gender and Women’s Studies, Lanni’s undergraduate career had a focus on digital journalism and media interactions with LGBTQIA+ communities. Before moving to New York City to begin her career, Lanni was a contributor to local publications such as Isthmus and Madison Magazine. She was also part of the J-School’s award-winning Curb team in 2014.