About

Beyond the Headlines is a program of the Wisconsin Humanities Council that
brings members of the Wisconsin media and the public together to examine
how we can obtain information that we need and trust in order to meet
our communities’ challenges.

For more information, please contact Beyond The Headlines project manager, Meg Turville-Heitz meg.turvilleheitz@wisconsinhumanities.org or call 608-265-5595.

Why Beyond the Headlines?     
The Wisconsin Humanities Council (WHC) launched Beyond the Headlines in response to concerns about the public’s declining trust in the news media, and the potential effects a loss of trust could have on civic participation and democracy. Public trust is not the only concern. The amount and depth of local news covered by traditional media outlets is declining.  As a result, less information is available to the public for making important decisions. These and related trends, such as the rise of social media as news sources and intentional misrepresentation of information, raise serious questions about whether citizens can access the information that we need to participate knowledgeably in civic life.     

How can I get involved in Beyond the Headlines? Will you be hosting BTH events in more locations?
Members of the public are invited to free events in Madison, Wausau, Eau Claire, Superior and Milwaukee. Current funding only covers events in five cities; however, the WHC is deeply committed to helping Wisconsites’ deepen their understanding of journalism and media literacy, and the crucial role that quality journalism plays in supporting civic participation. Interested community organizations and members of the media are encouraged to be in touch regarding their interest in participating in the future. In addition, WHC grants are available right now for projects that speak to issues of media literacy and the role of the media in our democracy. 

How is the project funded?
Beyond the Headlines is one of more than 50 projects by state humanities councils nationwide that are funded by the Mellon Foundation as part of “Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” an initiative created by Mellon in partnership with the Pulitzer Prizes, and administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Major funding for Beyond the Headlines also comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Local partners are supporting the project with many in-kind contributions.

Why the Wisconsin Humanities Council?
Beyond the Headlines is a program of the Wisconsin Humanities Council, an independent nonprofit supported by federal, state, and private funds. We fulfill our mission with our own programs and partnerships, publications, and with grants to organizations. As a result of our work, a rich array of learning opportunities engages the people of Wisconsin in the exploration of human cultures, ideas, and values.  

Since 1972, the WHC has worked statewide to support programs that use humanities expertise to increase public understanding of local and national issues. In 2018, the WHC is collaborating with statewide and local partners including journalists and community leaders in Madison, Wausau, Eau Claire, Superior, and Milwaukee to plan events at which Wisconsin journalists and residents of these communities talk face-to-face about the ways that journalists work to provide the information that the public needs when attempting to solve local problems.  (See each location page for a list of local partners.)

The WHC supports and creates programs that use history, culture and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin. We engage in programming that helps people explore human cultures, ideas and values, and participate in our democracy. Citizens need to be able to trust that they have accurate information in order to understand and tackle the various issues our communities face. We recognize the important role that independent and vibrant news media have in serving this need.

Who are the Beyond the Headlines statewide partners?
Statewide partners include the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, UW- Madison Center for Journalism Ethics, UW-Madison Life Sciences Communication, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Photo Credits

Main Photo (above and on the homepage) by Teran Powell, WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR

Homepage Location Tile Photos:
Madison image by Meg Turville-Heitz, Wisconsin Humanities Council
Eau Claire image by Joel Pearish / Volume One
Superior image by Bob Jauch
Wausau image by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Milwaukee image by Gary Porter

Our Partners



We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.