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Jason Shepard spent a decade as a journalist in Madison, Wis., covering crime, local politics, education and the media, winning reporting awards for investigative reporting, explanatory reporting, legal reporting, spot news reporting and feature reporting. 

Shepard wrote for Isthmus, an alternative newsweekly from 2004-2009 and The Capital Times, the feister of two local dailies, from 1996 to 2001. While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Shepard worked as a beat reporter and news editor at The Badger Herald, one of two daily student newspapers. He began his journalism career at age 16 as a school board reporter for his hometown weekly, the Wisconsin Dells Events

Investigative Reporting



Investigating 911 | A 911 center mishandles a phone call from a murder victim's cellphone and tries to keep its mistake secret. In subsequent stories, 911 Center staff blew the whistle on longstanding problems at the center. Other citizens came forward with complaints about 911 calls, including an important witness in another Madison homicide. The failure of public officials to level about the extent of problems inside the 911 center sparked cries for resignations and firings. The Dane County Board of Supervisors initiated an independent audit of the 911 center’s operations and management, and they immediately hired new staff after Isthmus’ stories contradicted statements made by County Executive Kathleen Falk about staffing levels. Falk’s administration thwarted public records requests for complaints about the center. Subsequent records turned over to Isthmus revealed that Falk and the 911 center’s oversight board had long ignored county law and employee contracts by failing to conduct performance evaluations of the 911 center director. The director resigned the day after Isthmus reported the director himself had failed to comply with county law while he was chairman of the oversight board.

Crime Reporting


Predators at Work | Gregory Ledbetter and Angela Kalscheur were hired to help Dane County’s most vulnerable teens. Instead, they molested them. | Isthmus | 01.19.07 | Follow-Ups: Abuse probe continues and Was enough done to stop abuse?


What happened to Amos? | Amos Mortier has been missing for eight months. Police suspect a homicide over marijuana. His mother clings to hope of finding him alive. | Isthmus | 7.21.05 | Follow-Ups: Making a federal case and Getting away with murder?


Faking It | When an expert witness in a notorious Madison murder case turns out to be a fraud, does the man she helped convict deserve a new trial? | Isthmus | 4.1.05 | Golden Gavel Award from State Bar of Wisconsin


Fundamental Differences | Neighbor accused of harassing neighbors with anti-gay signs and monster trucks | The Capital Times | 09.11.00 | Follow-Ups | Winner of Golden Gavel Award from the State Bar of Wisconsin


Swallowed by the System | A mother fights to keep her sanity and her children | The Capital Times, Jan. 29, 2000 | Follow-Up | Winner of Golden Gavel Award from State Bar of Wisconsin

Personal Accounts


War Zone a Surreal Haze | Pictures ‘Don’t Begin to Convey the Horror’ | The Capital Times | 09.13.01


A New Normal | Sights and Sounds From A Changed New York | The Capital Times | 10.15.01


The sad life of Jaeson Shepard | Addiction, despair, drug dealing and death | Isthmus | 05.09.06


Lueder’s riveting ‘Patty’ book showed how city cops failed | The Capital Times | 09.25.06


Education Columns and Reporting


Prof pays price for causing offense | Sensitivities take precedence over truth and academic freedom | Isthmus | 03.08.07


The Fate of the Schools | Changes in student demographics and curriculum threaten to undermine public confidence in the Madison public schools | Isthmus |03.23.06


Taking a different approach | Alternative programs save students who fall through the cracks | Isthmus |01.12.06


Getting kids ready for prison? | Board members fret over racial disparities in student arrests| Isthmus |10.20.05


Reading between the lines | Madison was right to reject compromised federal funding | Isthmus |12.29.06


Putting ‘em to the test | As deadline looms, Gov. Doyle and Legislature debate ways to measure achievement of voucher schools | Isthmus|02.02.06


Paying more for good teachers | Wisconsin weighs whether to embrace ‘merit pay’ bonuses | Isthmus |10.27.06




Finding Justice | Christopher Ochoa went from serving 12 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit to graduating from UW Law School |Isthmus |05.11.06


Educating Ms. Daniels | A first-year public schoolteacher opens her classroom to her trials and tribulations | Isthmus |5.19.05


Ellen Foley’s State Journal | Former Philly editor shakes up Madison’s morning newspaper, for better and worse | 9.8.06

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