The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit newsroom devoted to educating the public about crucial issues in the Midwest with a special focus on agribusiness and related topics such as government programs, environment and energy.
Started in 2009 by journalist Mike Sherry, the Center intends to provide training and education for students, professional journalists and citizens to better understand agribusiness and its impact locally, regionally and globally. The Center also plans to use both traditional and innovative digital tools and techniques to analyze data about agribusiness and distribute the results.
The Center has federal 501-(c)-3 status and thus donations made to the Center are tax deductible.
The Center will pursue collaborations with college journalism programs, nonprofit news organizations, citizens, and media outlets. The Center is a member of the Investigative News Network
The Center is generously supported by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation in Oklahoma City.
Pam Dempsey is the executive director of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
She is an award-winning journalist who has done investigative reporting and editing on topics including agribusiness, migrant farm workers, health, housing and Native American government.
Dempsey, who is an online, print and radio journalist, has developed community engagement programs and investigative reporting workshops.
She also has helped coordinate the start-up of two online newsrooms that heavily emphasize data journalism.
In 2017, she was selected as a Reynolds Institute Journalism Fellow to co-lead a team of data journalists and computer scientists with Brant Houston, Professor and Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois, to develop a “freemium” model of a digital tool to better identify issues of risks within Big Ag.
David Dickey of the Midwest Center for Investigative Journalism always wanted to be a journalist.
After serving tours in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, David enrolled at Rock Valley Junior College in Rockford, Ill. where he was first news editor and then editor in chief of the school newspaper The Valley Forge.
A 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Media, he spent the next 28 years at the Univeristy of Illinois NPR member station WILL-AM 580. There David reported on sports, news, and hosted Saturday programming including Weekend Edition for more than a decade.
During the last 13 years of his career at WILL, he served as the station’s director of agricultural programming.
During his radio career, Dickey won a dozen Associated Press awards for his reporting and he is a recipient of a Peabody for his reporting on dental issues in Illinois.
Dickey was also a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, dedicated to bringing timely news to the agricultural community.