Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, or NNS, is an online source for objective, professional multimedia reporting on issues in 18 central city Milwaukee communities.
NNS covers stories that are important to the people who live, work and serve in city neighborhoods, on topics such as education, public safety, economic development, health and wellness, environment, recreation, employment, youth development and housing.
NNS has won several prestigious awards, including a 2014 gold award for best news or feature website from the Milwaukee Press Club and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence from RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) in March 2012.
Sharon McGowan, editor-in-chief of NNS, is a reporter, writer, editor and teacher. She has a master’s degree from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and started her career as an investigative reporter and managing editor of The Chicago Reporter, a monthly publication covering race relations and poverty issues. She later was managing editor/assistant news director at all-news WBBM-AM, and then assignment manager for WBBM-TV, both CBS stations in Chicago.
McGowan and her husband, Jim, founded Complete Communications, Inc. in 1986. She also directed the graduate Introduction to Journalism program at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University and was an adjunct lecturer for more than 20 years. She has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television News Directors Association, Women in Communications and others.
Jabril Faraj is a staff reporter for NNS. Raised in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, he is a graduate of MPS Riverside University High School and alumnus of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Prior to joining the NNS staff, Faraj wrote and reported for the Boulder Daily Camera, Colorado’s second-largest daily publication. He has also been published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Milwaukee BizTimes. Since June 2014 he has explored the streets and neighborhoods of Milwaukee, meeting people and sharing their personal stories via milwaukeestories.org.
Edgar Mendez is a beat reporter for NNS, covering Clarke Square, the neighborhood in which he lives. Prior to joining the team, he was a feature writer for El Conquistador Newspaper in Milwaukee and a web writer/reporter for Scene262.com in Racine. Mendez, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, earned his undergraduate degree from UW-Milwaukee with a double major in Journalism and Media Communications and Sociology, and his master’s degree in Communication from Marquette University. He won a 2014 award from the Milwaukee Press Club for his article headlined “Black men bear the brunt of unequal enforcement of marijuana laws.” In 2008, he won a Society of Professional Journalists’ regional award for social columns dealing with diverse issues such as poverty, homelessness and racism.
Brendan O’Brien is a staff reporter for the NNS. During his career as a reporter and editor, O’Brien has covered breaking news, politics and governmental affairs for several news outlets, including Thomson Reuters and the Racine Journal Times.
O’Brien has a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Robert La Follette School of Public Affairs, where he focused on social policy such as poverty, employment and housing.
Andrea Waxman is a staff reporter at NNS. A professional writer, she completed a graduate certificate in Digital Storytelling at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor for a community newspaper and taught English and Japanese in several area middle and high schools. Waxman has lived in Milwaukee since 1981, but spent most of her early years living in Tokyo, where her father was stationed at the American embassy. She returned to Japan in 1986 and again in 1993 when her husband was there as a Fulbright scholar.