UW-Madison journalism school celebrates alumni achievements

April 18, 2013

by Stacy Forster

The winners of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Journalism and Mass Communication's annual alumni awards reflect the range of skills and expertise that are fostered among students in the school.

The distinguished service award winners this year include Frederica Freyberg, anchor and reporter for Wisconsin Public Television; Carrie Johnson, justice correspondent for National Public Radio; Philip Johnston, screenwriter and producer; and Ginnie Roeglin, senior vice president of e-commerce and publishing for Costco Wholesale.

"Being able to publicly recognize the achievements of our talented alumni is one of the best parts of my job," says Greg Downey, director of the school. "The variety of careers and skills represented by this year's group of award-winners demonstrates well that a degree from the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication can lead students into all sorts of interesting and important areas of art, industry and public service."

Freyberg, who received a bachelor's degree from the school in 1982, is the anchor of Wisconsin Public Television's "Here and Now," a live weekly show about issues and communities across Wisconsin. Her career as a reporter, anchor and producer spans 30 years and has netted her three Midwest Emmys, among other awards.

Johnson, who received a master's degree from the school in 1996, covers justice issues, law enforcement and legal affairs for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," among other programs. Before joining NPR, Johnson reported for the Washington Post and the weekly Legal Times in Washington.

Johnston, who received a bachelor's degree from the school in 1994, has a number of movies and television shows in development, and his most recent film, "Wreck-It Ralph," was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Before his career as a filmmaker, Johnston worked in television journalism, earning three Emmy Awards for his reporting at KARE-TV in Minneapolis.

Roeglin, who received a bachelor's degree from the school in 1976, has an extensive career in marketing and information technology. Among Roeglin's roles at Costco is publisher of the wholesaler's monthly magazine, which reaches nine million members, and the e-commerce business she heads puts up $2 billion in sales each year.

Daniel O'Brien, strategy director of Tapestry, a multicultural communications planning agency, is this year's recipient of the school's Ralph O. Nafziger Award, recognizing outstanding achievement within 10 years of graduation.

O'Brien has worked for Tapestry and its parent company, SMG, since graduating from UW-Madison in 2004. He primarily works to develop strategies for retailers and consumer packaged goods clients to better reach Hispanic customers.

Students Melissa Grau, Katherine Johnson, Brittany Klutzke, Heather Laing and Christopher Vosters are also being recognized with senior achievement awards.

The winners will be honored at a banquet Friday, April 19.