From the Nominator
"On Wisconsin aims for the highest standards of journalism in creating a general-interest-style magazine associated with the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The publication combines ambitious reporting on topical subjects with revealing profiles, creative feature stories, and pieces that provide historical context, particularly in the area of diversity and inclusion. The staff writers, photographers, and designers have the latitude for stylish self-expression, which contributes to a magazine that surprises and delights readers while also keeping them informed. Editors take a hands-on approach to cultivating articles from the idea stage through multiple drafts to create the most engaging structure and tone.
With a strong tradition of editorial independence, the publication is not afraid of confronting controversial issues under the assumption that readers expect a complete and nuanced portrait of the university. On Wisconsin listens to its audience via surveys, social media, online comments, letters to the editor, and an editorial advisory board, constantly refining its approach.
In terms of impact, the publication had a record number of page views online in 2021, along with a record number of engagements on social media. Local media picked up on the stories in the two enclosed issue, community organizations crafted programs around them, and the university chose commencement speakers from its profile subjects. "Finding a Voice, Against All Odds" from the spring 2021 issue directly inspired a $30,000 gift and a recurring $200 monthly gift to the nonprofit Odyssey Project. On Wisconsin also showcased web-only collections of letters for stories that generated an extraordinary response."
From the Judges
Bold yet clean design that highlights fantastic photography. Thematically carries the "on" throughout the piece in subtle way. High-level interaction with the audience to develop an alumni touchpoint that both highlights research and academics, but provides opportunities for personal reflection. Very strong writing, good subheads--shows extra attention. The feature on "what in your expertise can make us sound smarter at parties"? is a very creative approach. In the spring issue, one judge liked the intro letter's approach of "in normal times, our cover would have shown the program in action, we'd have photos..." It was a good way to address the pandemic changes, without resorting to clichés and generalities.