Journalism educators learned Sunday that Gov. Scott Walker had vetoed a budget provision that would have would have expelled Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism from the grounds of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. University employees would have been prevented from working with the Center, and there was some concern that the student newspaper could have been affected as well.
In a blog post Monday, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Greg Downey shared 10 lessons learned from the experience. “We found that the journalism community is more united by professional ethics than divided by partisan political-economic philosophy,” he said.
We received support from both a conservative talk-radio host and a nationally-respected columnist for the progressive Nation. We received national media attention in both Esquire and Wired. News outlets from all over the state covered the story fairly (and, from what I saw, almost unanimously editorialized about it favorably). Journalists from all backgrounds and niches recognize when the very core of their profession is under attack.
Katy Culver, an assistant professor at Wisconsin’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, told me via email:
We are relieved and grateful Gov. Walker did the right thing and ended this attack on press and academic freedom. Journalism educators interested in innovation and collaborative models should take a hard look at what we went through here and ensure they’re building public and political support.
Culver, a former Poynter adjunct faculty member, said she remains “shocked and saddened” that the university came so close to losing its relationship with WCIJ.