Dee J. (Michaelis) Hall, BA’82, has been an award-winning investigative reporter for 38 years — eight at The Arizona Republic, 24 at the Wisconsin State Journal and six at the nonprofit, nonpartisan and independent Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
Hall is co-founder of the center — along with her husband, Andy — and managing editor of its news outlet, Wisconsin Watch, with offices at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The Halls founded the center as a response to the declining support for investigative journalism, an initiative to train the next generation of investigative journalists and an effort to make Wisconsin, the state where Hall grew up, a better place.
A leading investigative reporter, Hall has received 45 state and national awards, including a Society of Professional Journalists national award and a bronze medal for investigative reporting in 2006. She was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012.
While at IU, she served as a reporter, writer and editor at the Indiana Daily Student. Her senior year, she won the Poynter Scholarship and Internship. She and Andy graduated with journalism degrees together — she was a semester early; he was a semester late. She also majored in Spanish.
During her time at The Arizona Republic, she covered city government, education and the environment. While at the Wisconsin State Journal, Hall worked as a reporter and editor focusing on projects and investigations. In 2001, she uncovered a $4 million-a-year secret campaign machine operated by Wisconsin’s top legislative leaders in which government aides were secretly working on private political campaigns, often on the taxpayer’s dime. The series prompted the local district attorney to launch an investigation that culminated in criminal charges against Wisconsin’s top Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, three other lawmakers and four legislative aides. The so-called legislative caucus scandal prompted the Legislature to eliminate the four partisan caucuses where the illegal activity was centered and to require legislative employees to sign an oath not to campaign on state time. That series won numerous awards, including a national SPJ award and the Associated Press Managing Editors Freedom of Information Award. The series also was a finalist in the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting competition.
At Wisconsin Watch, Hall has edited and co-reported numerous award-winning stories, including “Failure at the Faucet,” which documented how hundreds of thousands of state residents face the risk of unsafe drinking water due to manure, lead water pipes and other hazards. That story won a national Society of Professional Journalists award for investigative reporting in 2017.
She is a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, teaching investigative reporting, intermediate reporting, in-depth reporting and creative nonfiction.
Hall has presented at conferences including Investigative Reporters and Editors seminars and the Society of Professional Journalists workshop. She also serves as the secretary for the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.