Journalism – On Wisconsin For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:07:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Wisconsin, With Humor Wed, 23 May 2018 14:24:41 +0000 Manitowoc Minute, a comedic take on the news.]]> Fresh out of UW–Madison with degrees in journalism and geography, Charlie Berens ’09 was ready to break into broadcasting. But whether he was working in Texas, California, or Washington, DC, he received essentially the same feedback: you talk funny.

He stressed the o in opinion too much. He drew out the a in bag. He used strange words like bubbler when he was thirsty.

What was a Wisconsin guy — let alone one raised in a big family with a passion for fishing and the Green Bay Packers — to do? Ditch the accent to become more marketable?

Let’s just say Berens did the opposite, and the internet is grateful.

• • •

In June 2017, Berens posted a short video online that he called the “Manitowoc Minute.” Wearing a camouflage jacket that he stole from his dad and sitting at a bare-bones “news” desk, he gave a shout-out to a bait shop in Plover and poked fun at Stevens Point before getting into the headlines: the misconception held by some Americans that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, President Trump’s latest approval rating, and Bill Cosby’s mistrial. Each bit of news served as a setup for a joke, and Berens delivered it all in his thickest Wisconsin accent.

Peppered with comments that would soon become his catchphrases — “Ohmygosh,” “Holy smokes,” and “Keep ’er movin’ ” — he ended with a heartfelt wish — “I hope this was the best minute of your life” — and a none-too-subtle plug for the Packers and a dig at the Chicago Bears.

To date, that first episode has racked up more than a half million views on Facebook, but it almost didn’t happen.

“I was almost hesitant to release it, like, I don’t know that people want to see this,” Berens says. “And then I put it out, and it did well, and then I thought, well, I guess I’m going to do a second episode.”

And he did. And a third and a fourth and another and another each Monday, serving up a mix of headlines from his home state and beyond with a hearty dose of Wisconsin charm. The show, with Berens a constant as the affable host, has garnered fans around the world, inspired a collection of Manitowoc Minute merchandise, and even sparked a tour of sold-out live shows across Wisconsin. • • •

Before Wisconsin culture became the bread and butter of his comedy career, Berens lived it as a kid. The second oldest of 12 siblings, he grew up in New Berlin and Elm Grove, with frequent trips up to Fond du Lac to visit his grandparents. He loved the Packers, waterskiing, hunting, and public-access fishing shows.

At the UW he dabbled in music — “guitar, mandolin, kind of folk stuff,” he says — playing covers and original songs at coffee shop open mics and the Memorial Union Terrace.

During the 2008 presidential election, Berens got a gig with MTV’s Choose or Lose campaign, which deployed “citizen journalists” across the country to serve as correspondents. It opened his eyes to less formal, more entertainment-focused modes of reporting.

After graduating, Berens embarked on a career that took him around the country and had him working as a correspondent for a millennial-focused news website; a reporter and host for a Dallas television station, where he won an Emmy; and a host for entertainment and sports outlets in Los Angeles.

All the while, comedy brewed in the background. Berens had been doing stand-up and writing when he posted a video online in 2016 called “If Jack Dawson Really Was from Wisconsin,” dubbing in his own voice for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Titanic character, said to be from Chippewa Falls, to give him a more “accurate” way of speaking. It’s been viewed more than 13 million times.

The success of the video, as well as how audiences responded when he revealed his exaggerated accent in stand-up, reassured him that the world was ready for more Wisconsin. • • •

To create each episode of the Manitowoc Minute, Berens culls headlines from politics to sports to pop culture. “And that really actually helps with joke writing,” he says. “The news is basically your setup. Every day you have new setups. So it does help to be a little bit of a sponge for pop culture.”

Occasionally he goes out into the field for a segment. He’s gone fishing with his unamused father, water-skied in the summer, downhill skied in the winter, and taken a yoga class with a bottle of beer perched next to his mat. And while in Madison for a performance at the Wisconsin Union Theater in January, he stopped by the state capitol.

“I went to the capitol expecting to hop on a tour or something,” he says, “and ended up really lobbying to get a bipartisan deal done to just change the Wisconsin flag a little bit.”

His proposal: replace the rope and pickax that the flag’s sailor and miner have been holding since 1848 with bottles of Miller Lite and Spotted Cow, swap out one of the guys for a woman, and change the “Forward” motto to “Keep ’Er Movin’.” The state legislature may not have adopted his changes, but a revised flag is now available for purchase on his website.

In addition to the supper clubs, taverns, and other Wisconsin locales that Berens namechecks in his show, he brings his geography background to bear in his favorite segment: the Craigslist Kicker.

“I feel like you can tell a lot about a place just by looking [at] the classifieds,” he says. “For example, there are so many silos for sale. … Coming from the perspective of a geography alum, what does that say about where we live? It’s almost symbolic of the larger farming community — you’re selling your silo? It’s interesting.”

Ultimately, Berens’s goal with the show is bringing folks together.

“When everyone is laughing, we’re all on the same page, even if it’s just for a joke,” he says, adding that the show has become a platform for his audience to donate to causes like Wounded Warriors, the Boys and Girls Club, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Fans always seem to jump at the opportunity to support a variety of causes. It’s a great reminder that there’s a lot of common ground we share.”

• • •

These days, Berens and his wife, Alex Wehrley ’09, a communication arts grad and former Miss Wisconsin, split their time between Los Angeles and the Badger State to make the most of this Manitowoc moment.

As he continues to do stand-up, as well as write and produce comedy sketches and pilots, Berens is thinking about what comes next for the web series.

“I think there’s a way to bring the show to outside of Wisconsin, of finding a way to engage and potentially create a network of other people doing similar things around the country,” he says. “So maybe there can be a full-on newsroom. I think it would be fun to have other people who represent where they’re from and do it in the same way the news networks do it.”

What will never change, though, is his love for Wisconsin, and the way he shares it with the world.

“This is who I am,” he says. “I like to laugh at myself, I’m self-deprecating, and I think Wisconsin culturally has that sense of humor. I think people get it. It’s all in good fun.”

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Cynthia Hornig ’91 Wed, 23 May 2018 14:24:07 +0000 Portrait of Cythia Hornig

Rachel Schultz

Ten years after Cynthia Hornig ’91 and her friend Jen Jones left their jobs in 2001 to start a public-relations agency in New York City, they launched a website to fill a critical need. Women You Should Know features a collection of untold and inspirational stories about the impact women have on their communities and the world.

With a nod to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the pair shared the stories of seven female first responders during the terror attacks. In less than a day, Huffington Post republished them, and the site was off and running as a pioneer in digital empowerment. Today, you’ll find features on feminism, entertainment, and women in science, technology, engineering, and math; trailblazers in photography and finance; a look at concussion dangers in women’s ice hockey; and a profile of an 11-year-old who is collecting 1,000 books about black girls.

Along the way, Hornig and Jones heard from women who were raising money for new businesses, charitable causes, and artistic projects. Recognizing another way to support the important work that women do, they designed the crowdfunding platform Women You Should Fund and offered hands-on public relations and marketing feedback for every campaign.

Women You Should Fund launched in March 2017 with a bid to raise funds for the nonprofit Harriet Tubman Home historical site in Auburn, New York. The campaign exceeded its $25,000 goal in less than three weeks. The platform has since supported 12 additional campaigns, including an illustrated series about women in science and a cheese-storage-and-preservation device (sure to appeal to Hornig’s fellow Badgers). United Women Firefighters raised nearly $20,000 on the site to fight gender disparities at the New York City Fire Department.

Hornig and Jones have also launched a product called (em)Power Laces — a collection of shoelaces featuring words such as fearless and warrior — to support their women’s advocacy initiatives. And Women You Should Fund has been featured on, Upworthy, and other media outlets.

Filmmaker Leah Warshawski turned to Hornig and Jones to raise money to market and distribute her feature documentary Big Sonia, about her grandmother — a business owner and Holocaust survivor.

“Cynthia and Jen are two of the hardest-working women I know,” Warshawski says. “We talked almost every day. We felt like a team.”

Thanks to more than 600 donors, the film crew beat its goal and raised just under $80,000. “The campaign was a success, but more importantly, [Hornig and Jones are] like family now,” Warshawski adds. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

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7 Objects of Affection Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:02:36 +0000


Professor: Daniel Young, entomology

Object: Beetle-mania

Overhead shot of pinned beetle specimens each with detailed label.

Doug Erickson

“Most everything in my office probably would be considered creepy or gross to many people, but not to me,” says Young, whose officemates are thousands of dead insects. His research collection of fire- colored beetles — his specialty — is estimated to be the third-largest in the world.


Professor: Harry Brighouse, philosophy

Object: Doctor Who art

Doug Erickson

Forty-four years ago, Brighouse, age 10 and living north of London, ran to a newsstand and bought three copies of Radio Times, a TV Guide-like publication with Doctor Who on its cover. Today, he’s known for an office full of objects related to the British television series, including a reproduction of that 1973 cover. “The show influenced my values and views on society, even teasing me into abstract thinking, which is what I ended up doing for life,” he says.


Professor: Carrie Sperling, law

Object: Needlepoint house

Doug Erickson

Soon after Sperling successfully helped a client through the Wisconsin Innocence Project, the man thanked her with this needlepoint house made in prison. Students who take the time to look it over are rewarded: Sperling stocks its numerous secret compartments with candy.


Professor: John Valley, geoscience

Object: Rock that contained the oldest known piece of Earth

A piece of sandstone mounted on a wood board with label that reads, "Jack Hills sandstone. Contains zircons from 4.4 to 3.1 billion years old. Source of the oldest known piece of Earth."

Doug Erickson

Valley extracted the rock from an outcrop in Australia. In 2014, he and a team of researchers reported that it contained a speck of zircon — a tiny, hardy crystal — that is 4.4 billion years old. That’s the oldest known bit of Earth’s crust. Alas, the priceless zircon is stored elsewhere on campus under lock and key. But Valley keeps in his office the rock it came from, itself one of the oldest objects on campus at three billion years old.


Professor: Emily Stanley, integrative biology

Aged glass bottle filled with lake sediment.

Doug Erickson

Object: Lake sediment

As pioneers of freshwater science, UW lake ecologists Edward Birge and Chancey Juday analyzed hundreds of Wisconsin lakes. Stanley cherishes one of their sediment samples, passed down to her from a predecessor and marked “Aug. 7, 1907, Lake Manitowish.” It’s now just dried mud in a discolored bottle, but it’s also a point of pride.


Professor: Bill Tracy, agronomy

Object: John Steuart Curry reproduction

Framed painting of five men, one in foreground and four in background, standing in cornfield.

Chazen Museum of Art

Curry, one of the great painters of American Regionalism, served as the first artist- in-residence at the agricultural college. In 1941, he painted Dean Chris Christensen in a field of sweet corn. The original hangs at the Chazen Museum of Art, but a 72-by-48-inch reproduction that once graced the dean’s residence ended up in a warehouse, where Tracy, agronomy department chairman, rescued it. “I’m very proud that it’s in a place of honor again,” he says.


Professor: Sandra Adell, Afro-American studies

Object: Painted mannequin legs

Upside-down pair of black mannequin legs streaked with colorful paint and wearing high healed shoes.

Doug Erickson

While jogging years ago, Adell rescued the discarded legs from a curb. They languished, unpainted, in a corner of her office until 2004, when student Brody Rose ’99, MFA’05 stopped by. “You have to paint my legs,” Adell told him. They now rise prominently from her desk, capped with high heels from her closet. “What I hope the legs convey,” she says, “is that this professor is a bit unconventional and a lot of fun.”

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John Hanc MA’83 Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:28:35 +0000

Courtesy of John Hanc

To write a book proposal on a woman known as the Marathon Goddess, John Hanc MA’83, a runner himself, spent a weekend shadowing Julie Weiss in Los Angeles — even running part of the 2017 LA marathon at her side. Weiss earned her nickname by running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise funds for pancreatic-cancer research. “She said I really nailed her voice,” Hanc says. “I did that because I’d been with her; I heard her; I looked her in the eye and ran in her shoes.”

The author’s love of participatory journalism — immersing himself in the lives of the people he covers — is modeled after his hero, George Plimpton, the late editor of the Paris Review and a renowned practitioner of this journalistic craft.

Hanc channeled his subjects’ voices with precision and empathy when cowriting a string of award-winning memoirs, including Not Dead Yet with diabetic bike racer Phil Southerland, and The Ultra Mindset with endurance athlete Travis Macy. Hanc was on site when the city of Athens, Georgia, closed down for its historic Twilight Criterium — a grueling, 80-lap (roughly 50 miles) bike contest in which Southerland competed and lost. Hanc seized on the defeat and the intense atmosphere to open the memoir.

Drawing people into his method of telling incisive stories extends beyond the printed page. As an associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology — where he was voted the professor who made the greatest impact — he will often have students read his rough drafts “to let them see the writing process as it unfolds. Students love that immediacy,” he says.

Hanc’s own career took off after working postcollege in the public- relations department of his hometown newspaper, where he yearned to hone his journalism skills. With a scholarship in hand, he enrolled as a graduate student at the UW to earn his master’s. “I did the degree in a year, which almost killed me, but they taught me to think more critically and write more concisely,” he says. “I learned how to read research papers that turned out to be very helpful to this day. It was a thrilling experience to be there with so many brilliant, talented people.”

Hanc’s tenacity also drove him to journey 7,000 miles with 228 people from 15 countries to the bottom of the earth to take part in the 2005 Antarctica Marathon, which he chronicled in his own memoir, The Coolest Race on Earth. For 26.2 miles on King George Island, Hanc tramped through dense mud, loose rocks, and slushy glacial trails, eventually finishing 17th in four hours and 42 minutes. Some parts of the race went unreported because, he explains, he was “delirious with pain. While aspects of it were magical, improbable, and even laughable, it was a really hard slog.”

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Our Man in Berlin Mon, 22 May 2017 17:47:49 +0000 Louis Lochner 1909 was dumbfounded when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to London and trumpeted “peace for our time” after signing a pact in Munich that allowed Germany to annex the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. The mood outside 10 Downing Street on September 30, 1938, was euphoric, and Chamberlain recommended that the assembled crowd “go home and sleep quietly in your beds.”

Lochner, the bureau chief for the Associated Press in Berlin, couldn’t understand the naïveté behind appeasement — he knew better than anyone that Adolf Hitler would not stop until he dominated all of Europe. That night, as Britain slept, the Nazis marched into Czechoslovakia.

Six weeks later, Lochner filed this story for the AP:

Berlin, Nov. 10 — The greatest wave of anti-Jewish violence since Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 swept Nazi Germany today and Jews were threatened with new official measures against them.

Millions of dollars worth of Jewish property was destroyed by angry crowds. Jewish stores were looted. Synagogues were burned, dynamited or damaged in a dozen cities.

Sounds of breaking glass and shouts of looters died away only near midnight. Hundreds of Jews voluntarily spent the night in jails fearing worse violence as reports of burning and looting continued to come in from many cities.

Those three paragraphs were the first that many in the English-speaking world read of Kristallnacht, a nationwide pogrom that killed dozens of Jewish people and led to the systematic persecution and murder of six million.

During two decades as a foreign correspondent, Lochner filed stories about the rise of the Nazis and knew long before many Americans had heard of Hitler that Germany was headed for war. Before the U.S. entry into World War II, he was among a handful of journalists credentialed to cover the German army in battle. He also managed to tick off Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister for the Third Reich, and was interned by the Germans following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Lochner returned home and wrote a book detailing the rise of the authoritarian regime, in which he eschewed his wire service objectivity and let his emotions flow: “I want the reader to feel as burning an anger as I do at the perversion of civilization that Adolf Hitler is trying to foist on an unwilling world.” • • •

Lochner was the son of German immigrants — his father was a Lutheran minister — and he grew up in Milwaukee speaking their native language at home. He went on to study journalism at the UW, after switching his major from Greek and Latin, and his senior thesis was on Wisconsin’s primary elections. He was active on campus as director of the German Glee Club, secretary of the junior class, a writer for the Badger yearbook, a Daily Cardinal reporter, and a member of the International Club.

“I place my association with students from all parts of the world ahead of my book learning and technical training I acquired,” Lochner wrote in his memoir, Always the Unexpected. “It was certainly splendid preparation for my later life’s work as a foreign correspondent. I learned to cultivate the ‘international mind.’ ”

As a student, Lochner became active in the peace movement, and in 1909, he attended an international meeting of students in Holland. There, Lochner recalls in his memoir, British journalist and pacifist William Stead, editor of the journal Review of Reviews, told the students that modern wars had become so costly and destructive that countries would never risk “unleashing the terrifying instruments of death which technology has developed.” Stead’s words resonated with Lochner, who had no inkling he would later cover a war that would unleash instruments of death that killed millions of people.

Later that year, Lochner graduated, and he served as editor of the Wisconsin Alumni Magazine (the predecessor of On Wisconsin) for six years. He continued to travel abroad and play an active role in international pacifist organizations, including working for auto tycoon Henry Ford’s failed Peace Ship expedition to Europe in 1916 — experiences that he said influenced his work as a journalist in Germany. “I could never persuade myself that any nation is made up of preponderantly bad people,” he wrote.

His first wife, Emmy, died in 1920, a victim of the Spanish flu epidemic, and in 1921 Lochner moved to Berlin, where he later met and married a German woman, Hilde De Terra. He wrote for a labor press service and freelanced stories to daily newspapers and trade union publications. He also worked as a literary agent for Maxim Gorky, helping the Russian writer find a publisher for his books in Japan.

• • •

Joining the Associated Press in Berlin in 1924 was a dream come true.

“It was Big League journalism whose gates I had crashed. I was now working for the world’s largest news-gathering association, whose daily dissemination of information covered events in every corner of the globe and was read by millions of readers,” Lochner wrote.

As a reporter for the AP in Berlin, and later its bureau chief beginning in 1928, Lochner’s words and photographs documenting the rise of the Third Reich were transmitted around the world. He interviewed Hitler shortly after his release from prison in 1925 and the publication of Mein Kampf, the first of many interviews as he began his rise to power.

Whether by cultivating sources, old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, or assiduously reading German newspapers and periodicals for tidbits of information that could lead to a bigger story, Lochner was adept at his job — one that became more difficult when Hitler became chancellor in 1933. All German journalists needed government- issued permits to work and could lose them for writing or saying anything not in line with the Nazi regime. Losing a job and livelihood at a time when much of the world was in an economic depression meant there were few dissenting voices in Germany.

Many newspapers closed and publications that remained all printed the same news — hand-fed by Goebbels and the propaganda ministry. Foreign journalists working in Germany faced restictions that were not quite as draconian, but they were kept under surveillance — their phones tapped, mail opened, and conversations monitored. A daily terror was suffocating Germany, and Lochner witnessed Brown Shirts beating people in the street. He heard the anguished cries from Gestapo headquarters on Berlin’s Prinz Albrecht Strasse. He repeatedly requested to visit concentration camps — pleas that the Nazi propaganda office rebuffed.

In the book Breaking News: How the Associated Press Has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else, a chapter about foreign correspondents describes the difficult position Lochner often found himself in: “Reporters in Nazi Germany had to walk a tightrope — especially important for news agency staffers because of their thousands of clients — in balancing the need to cover the story with maintaining access to officials and avoiding expulsion. Almost inevitably, there were accusations, which AP consistently fought, that Lochner was pro-German.”

In 1939, Lochner won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage, which often went without a byline, as was the custom for the wire service. When he returned to the United States to pick up the award that June, he visited his hometown and stopped by the Milwaukee Journal. Staffers in the newsroom asked Lochner where and when Hitler would strike next. Though Lochner’s comments were off the record at the time of his visit, a story the Journal published on October 24, 1942, recounted the AP newsman’s prescient remarks: Hitler probably would not make a move until late August, and the crisis might involve border disturbances or trouble concerning a minority of Germans living in another country. He also told the newspaper’s reporters and editors not to underestimate Hitler.

After Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, under the pretext of retaking land disputed between the two countries, Lochner was among the foreign journalists who followed German troops as they swept through Poland, followed by Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, and Greece. He cabled thousands of words from the front lines and witnessed the French surrender in June 1940 in Compiègne — in the same rail car where Germany had signed the armistice that ended World War I. He was in Paris when Nazi troops marched down the Champs-Élysées. • • •

Lochner knew his days working freely in Berlin were numbered once Germany declared war on America, but he didn’t think they would come to an end until spring 1942 at the earliest. On December 7, 1941, he was dining with top Nazi officials in Berlin when a telephone call from New York interrupted his dinner with an urgent message: Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor and the AP needed reaction from German officials. Lochner returned to his dinner companions, asked questions, scribbled some notes, and phoned them in to the bureau. Two days later, the FBI arrested German newsmen in the United States. He knew, under the German system of reprisals, American journalists in Germany faced a similar fate.

The next day Lochner showed up for the daily press conference at the propaganda ministry, where a Nazi official told him and the other U.S. journalists to go home, which meant house arrest, until further notice. But Lochner didn’t go straight home — this was news, and he needed to file a story. He wrote and sent his last Berlin dispatch, called the city’s other AP journalists and told them not to come into the office, and thanked the bureau’s German staff.

Lochner was among 115 Americans interned for almost five months at a hotel near Frankfurt, unable to file any stories home. In a scrapbook, now housed among Lochner’s papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society on the UW campus, the newsman affixed souvenirs of his internment at a chateau in Bad Nauheim. Black-and-white photos show prisoners performing daily calisthenics, and a pamphlet lists classes Lochner and his fellow internees taught at the “University in Exile” they established to stave off boredom. (His subjects were American geography and German military history.)

“Lochner is behaving in an especially contemptible way. His attacks are directed above all against German propaganda and he aims at me personally,” a frustrated Goebbels wrote in a May 19, 1942, diary entry. “I have never thought much of Lochner. We made too much fuss about him. We can now see what happens in time of crisis.” (The diary was found in the courtyard of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda in Soviet-occupied Berlin in 1945, and Lochner was the one who did the translation after its discovery.) The propaganda minister was furious that while German journalists wrote what they were told, he couldn’t control foreign reporters.

By late May, the Germans released the American reporters in a prisoner swap. • • •

When Lochner returned to U.S. shores on June 1, 1942, an AP colleague met him at the dock and slapped him on the back with the greeting, “What about Germany?” For the next 30 days, the question was repeated with increasing insistence from colleagues who thought he should write a book about his experiences there. Lochner hesitated, because the material he was able to bring home from Germany was incomplete and, in a way, he felt he was too close to the events that took place during his more than two decades in the country. But he ultimately decided the task was too important, and he finished work on it five months later.

“I had to assume that a copy of such a book would fall into Nazi hands — in fact, I hope it will. I know the methods of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, but I can face, with considerable equanimity, his efforts to discredit it,” he wrote in the foreword to What About Germany?

The book succinctly and eloquently outlined how Hitler managed to take over an entire country and twist Germans to subscribe to his obscene ideas, and it examined why no one stopped the dictator before it was too late.

Hitler recognized that the common man can grasp an idea better if it is presented to him in concrete symbols rather than abstract, Lochner wrote. And the dictator knew that in order to “remain virile,” a movement needs not only its own ideology but an opponent against whom it can match wits (Jews and Communists in his case). He also had a remarkable faculty for being all things to all people.

“Hitler merely had to unleash the proper emotions in each crowd, show sympathy and understanding for its problems, and the case was won,” Lochner wrote. “Apparently no one bothered to expose the inconsistencies in his arguments.”

Lochner returned to Europe in 1944, this time reporting on American troops as they fought against the German army he had followed into battle just a few years earlier.

“I had gnashed my teeth many a time in impotent rage when I saw how Hitler was overrunning Europe,” he wrote in his memoir. “Now I was retracing my steps, this time with an army determined to restore freedom to Europe. It made all the difference in the world to me.”

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Eric Barrow ’93 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:18:28 +0000 barrow

Andy Clayton, New York Daily News

Six months after graduating, Eric Barrow ’93 was knocking around Tokyo, brushing up on his Japanese, and considering a career in international relations when the Wisconsin football team rolled into town for a big game at the Tokyo Dome.

Barrow, a lifetime sports devotee who had dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, sneaked onto the practice field and met Steve Rushin, a reporter for Sports Illustrated. They went out to dinner, and Barrow recalls asking Rushin, “So let me get this straight: you travel the world covering sports, get locker-room passes, go out to dinner, and Sports Illustrated picks up the tab? Why the hell am I not doing this?”

Pretty soon he was. Back in Madison, Barrow and two friends started a local sports publication, and by 2000, he was an editor for the New York Post. In 2003, he landed a spot at the New York Daily News, and last year he was named sports editor for the paper, becoming one of only a handful of African American sports editors at major U.S. daily newspapers.

“All of a sudden, to have people reaching out to me to talk about that was a little overwhelming,” Barrow says, “but I saw the responsibility to bring stories that I am interested in to our publication.”

Just before being named sports editor, Barrow joined a special in-depth coverage team at the New York Daily News and wrote “Doin’ Pain,” a story about a group of rehabilitated gang members who reduce gang violence in New York City through mediation. The story won best-feature awards from the New York State Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists.

As sports editor, one of Barrow’s daily decisions is what to put on the back page — the tabloid’s prime real estate. Last July, in response to the shootings of unarmed black men by police, he encouraged one of his writers to weigh in on why professional athletes should address the issue. During the week when that column ran, two more black men were killed by police, and five police officers were gunned down in Dallas.

When New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony posted a powerful call to action on Instagram challenging fellow professional athletes to demand change, Barrow ran Anthony’s words and image — and nothing more — on the back page. “I think that page was shared more than 100,000 times,” Barrow says. “To be in a position where I could respond, be part of that conversation, and make a small difference was special,” he says.

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2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:00:22 +0000 For 80 years, the Wisconsin Alumni Association has honored exceptional alumni with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Early recipients include actor Fredric March ’20 of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fame and Helen C. White PhD’24, the beloved English professor whose name now graces College Library. More recently, alumni such as Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson LLB’42, scientist Carl Djerassi PhD’45, and fashion icon Iris Apfel ’43 have joined their ranks. We imagine they’d be as proud as we are to welcome this year’s honorees into the fold.

Learn more about the award winners. The deadline for 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award nominations is December 16.

John Daniels Jr.

John Daniels Jr. was the first African American lawyer in the United States to start as an associate in a major law firm and become chair.

John Daniels Jr. MS’72

John Daniels Jr. is chair emeritus at the national law firm Quarles & Brady. As chair, he grew the law firm significantly during the worst downturn since the Great Depression. A nationally recognized expert in real estate and business law, he has been involved in some of the nation’s most complex real estate redevelopment projects. He is the former national president of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and has represented major corporations such as General Electric, Kraft Foods, and Xerox.

After earning his MS in education, Daniels received his JD from Harvard University. Over the years, he has been a major force for civic good in Milwaukee. He has worked as lead lawyer on many signature downtown projects. He also helped organize an annual golf tournament, the Fellowship Open, that raises money to support children in need, and he has worked with his brother, a Milwaukee clergyman, on a number of community housing and education projects.

Judith Faulkner

Judith Faulkner, who earned her MS in computer sciences, serves on the department’s board of visitors, and the company she founded, Epic Systems, has endowed three computer sciences faculty positions.

Judith Greenfield Faulkner MS’67

Judith Faulkner is the founder and CEO of Epic Systems, which she launched in 1979 in an apartment-house basement. Epic has since grown to become a leading provider of integrated health care software, with clients that include the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Cedars-Sinai, Kaiser Permanente, CVS Health, and Walgreens. More than half of the U.S. population has medical information in an Epic system. Faulkner has kept the company privately held and has built a sustainable corporate campus in Verona, Wisconsin, with 9,900 employees.

In 2013, Forbes magazine called her the “most powerful woman in health care.” Faulkner has pledged to donate 99 percent of her assets to philanthropy. UW–Madison awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2010, and she is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Leadership Roundtable. She also served on the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, a federal advisory group that helps to shape IT-related health care policy, and its Privacy and Security subcommittee.

Doris Weisberg

Doris Weisberg serves on the Memorial Union Building Association and is helping to position the Wisconsin Union to use locally grown products in its food-service operations.

Doris Feldman Weisberg ’58

Doris Feldman Weisberg was part of the team that launched the Food Network, where she produced numerous shows and was the managing editor of food news. She has also produced cooking shows for Lifetime Television. Prior to that, she was on the faculty of City College of the City University of New York, where she taught for 26 years. She was director of the Speech and Hearing Center and retired in 1992 as chair of the speech department.

Weisberg earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and went on to receive her MS and PhD from Columbia University. She serves on the political science department’s board of visitors, and she is also on the board of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association and is a member of its Women’s Philanthropy Council. She and her husband have created a planned gift to establish the Doris Feldman Weisberg and Robert Weisberg Center for Progressive Political Thought. They also established the Doris and Robert Weisberg Current Issues Symposium Fund at the Memorial Union to bring relevant and timely speakers to campus.

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Voice of Experience Thu, 01 Sep 2016 16:44:59 +0000 AndyKatz_JournalismLecture_11.4.15_1

Sarah Morton

Andy Katz ’90 is used to telling complicated stories to millions. He’s been doing so since 2000 as a writer, college basketball reporter, and back-up anchor for ESPN’s preeminent journalistic program, Outside the Lines.

But despite growing up the son of a Boston College Law School professor, Katz never gave much thought to becoming a teacher himself. The idea didn’t gel until he visited the UW–Madison campus in fall 2015 as part of a writer-in-residence program.

“It wasn’t until I was standing in front of the students that I realized how comfortable I was in that role,” he says. “It opened my eyes to wanting to teach more in some form.”

Katz got his wish this summer with Journalism 475: Sports Journalism in the Digital Age, a course he developed with faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Students spent two weeks in the classroom for intensive lectures and seminars, followed by online instruction, discussion, and exercises. They learned core sports journalism skills by covering a particular team or sport, and they grappled with the challenges of reaching a mass audience in a changing media landscape.

The class also delved into current topics ranging from the scandal surrounding the football program at Baylor University to the suicide of BMX rider Dave Mirra and his subsequent diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Students also dissected a profile of golfer Tiger Woods in ESPN The Magazine, an example of long-form sports journalism that goes beyond the realm of typical human interest reporting, says Robert Schwoch ’88, a onetime sports reporter who is also a lecturer and undergraduate adviser, and who served as the official instructor for Katz’s summer course.

Because of his schedule filling in for Outside the Lines, Katz joined the class via Skype from his office at ESPN’s studios in Connecticut during the first week and mentored students online for the rest of the class. Former Washington Post sports columnist Len Shapiro ’68, who previously taught sports journalism courses at the UW, served as a coinstructor for Katz’s course.

Schwoch is hopeful Katz can teach more classes at the UW, saying, “There’s just no substitute for that level of experience in a classroom. He really brought relevant, up-to-the-minute information to the class.”

Remembering his days as a student, Katz is eager to give back. “I used to seek out people … for advice all the time,” he says. “If I can be that person for students today, then I’m all for it.”

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Raney Aronson-Rath ’92 Mon, 29 Feb 2016 16:52:04 +0000 Raney Aronson

Courtesy Of Frontline

It takes real diplomacy to seek truth behind the Ebola crisis in West Africa or famine in South Sudan. Raney Aronson-Rath ’92 is up to the task.

Aronson-Rath is sifting and winnowing at the pinnacle of journalism as the second-ever executive producer of the PBS investigative series Frontline. She took the top spot in 2015 and has been recognized for driving innovation behind the series’ respected documentary journalism. A recent look at Ebola in West Africa marked the program’s inaugural report in virtual reality — a big step in Frontline’s expansion into new storytelling frontiers.

“We’re trying to tell some of our hardest stories in virtual reality,” Aronson-Rath says of the presentation style, shot and produced to provide a 360-degree, immersive experience when viewers use a special cardboard device paired with a smartphone. “Sometimes being immersed in an environment that you can never yourself go to can really help you understand the world better.”

That’s the mindset that Aronson-Rath had when leaving home in rural Vermont for UW-Madison, anticipating a career as an international diplomat. She double-majored in history and South Asian studies and learned Hindi and Urdu alongside international students.

“I wanted to be fluent in multiple languages, and travel the world, and live overseas, and have that access to the rest of the world,” she says.But she experienced a decisive career-path twist: the newsroom of the Daily Cardinal, where, as a freshman city-desk reporter, her editor often pushed her to “go make it better.” The Cardinal was just the start of what would be Aronson-Rath’s many collaborations with fellow Wisconsin journalists, including Pulitzer Prize winners Lowell Bergman ’66, Walt Bogdanich ’75, and her then-editor, the late Anthony Shadid ’90.

“I think a lot of us who grew up at the Cardinal then went into serious journalism because we saw the potential as young people,” recalls Aronson-Rath, who went from a postgraduation reporting gig in Taiwan to roles at ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, and, in 2007, to Frontline as a senior producer.

Today she is headquartered at WGBH-TV in Boston, where she lives with her husband, NPR correspondent Arun Rath, and their two young children. Aronson-Rath says anyone who wants to understand the world better should be watching Frontline.

“We essentially tell you in a deeper way what’s happening, and we make sense of it for you,” she says. “Or, we tell you it makes absolutely no sense, and this is why.”

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We’re Em-bear-assed Tue, 26 May 2015 16:39:51 +0000 I very much enjoyed the piece on Phil Rosenthal [“Staying Power,” Fall 2015]. In particular, I cheered the fact that “…after more than thirty years in the newspaper business,” he had covered grizzly crime scenes and survived. Those bears are very dangerous!

Lona Morris Jupiter ’56 San Francisco, California

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