Brenda Wintrode

is a local government reporter covering state agencies for The Baltimore Banner. 

As a Roy W. Howard fellow and reporter for Wisconsin Watch, Wintrode investigated wrongful child abuse allegations made by a former Wisconsin doctor and prominent national expert in the child maltreatment field. Families from Wisconsin and Alaska came forward to tell their stories of being wrongfully accused of child abuse by this same doctor. The pediatrician, who most recently served as Alaska's top child abuse doctor, announced her resignation. The 2021 series won a Milwaukee Press Club gold award in the "Best Investigative Story or Series" category. 

Wintrode graduated from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland with a 4.0 GPA and received the college's "Outstanding Master's Student" award. During the summer of 2020, she worked for the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism as a reporter and lead writer on a national story on illegal evictions during the CARES Act's eviction moratorium.

While working on the Howard Center's award-winning series on homelessness, she uncovered that members of the Tulsa County, Oklahoma, eviction bar upended a rental assistance program meant to keep tenants from becoming homeless during the pandemic lockdowns.

She's working from Madison through April 30, 2022, and will return home to Annapolis, Md., in May.

Investigative Series for Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin caregiver spent eight years, $250,000 in legal bills to exonerate herself from abuse charges

Stacy Hartje’s quest to clear her name took eight years. In 2007, the 22-year-old mother of one was providing child care for several children in her Mauston, Wisconsin, home. One day after eating his lunch, a 3-year-old boy collapsed in front of her. “He didn’t fall to the ground because I was able to catch him,” Hartje said. She called his parents, then called 9-1-1. She rode in the front seat of the ambulance that took him to the regional hospital. The boy was transferred to American Fa

Parents recount terror of wrongful child abuse diagnoses from former University of Wisconsin doctor

As a child protective services worker questioned them in their baby’s hospital room, Greg and Katie Shebesta of Janesville, Wisconsin, held their nearly 6-month-old upright, allowing the excess fluid to drip through tubes a brain surgeon had inserted beneath his skull. “He was trying to understand if I was a person who would hurt my child,” Katie Shebesta said.

2021 Bylines: Wisconsin Watch, The New York Times, Maryland Matters, Baltimore Brew

A Babysitter and a Band-Aid Wrapper: Inside the Submarine Spy Case

WASHINGTON — On July 28, Diana Toebbe posted a Facebook message looking for a babysitter to take care of her children early on the coming Saturday morning for five to six hours. Later the post, visible only to friends, was updated with the word “*FOUND*.” And on that Saturday, Ms. Toebbe accompanied her husband, Jonathan, to south-central Pennsylvania. Unbeknown to Ms. Toebbe, she and her husband were being watched by the F.B.I.

Only 1 in 4 Baltimore schools set to reopen are now equipped with ventilation upgrades

It was almost midnight Friday when Danielle Hopper Dubasak got the news in an email from her employer, Baltimore City Public Schools: Dubasak had been selected to report back to work as a part of the district’s plan to bring more students back to buildings for in-person learning next month. But the mother of four young children had already told her principal she wouldn’t return to the building as long as the Covid-19 pandemic raged. “I would quit if it came down to it,” said Dubasak, who work

2020 Bylines: Capital News Service, Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, Bay Weekly