Annual Report UW-Madison CENTER FOR JOURNALISM ETHICS, 2018-2019


Conference: What #MeToo Means for Gender, Power & Ethical Journalism

On April 26, 2019, our 11th annual ethics conference provoked discussion of the ways in which gender is represented in media, how it can result in discrimination in the newsroom and field and how news organizations need to change following the #MeToo movement. Leading tech journalist Kara Swisher took part in a keynote conversation on #MeToo, a story "hiding in plain sight" and the culture of the modern tech workplace.

245 registrants (17% increase from 2018)
483 clicks to web streaming (290% increase from 2018)
Photo top left: Center director Kathleen Bartzen Culver interviews leading tech journalist Kara Swisher. Top right: Affiliated faculty Lindsay Palmer discusses workplace integrity with fellow panelist Sharif Durhams. Bottom: students respond to Kara Swisher's keynote conversation.
Media after the Midterms: Journalism Ethics in a Contentious Age

On November 7, 2018, we convened experts in media and politics to discuss journalism ethics in highly polarized times. David Folkenflik, NPR media critic and host of On Point, participated in the panel while serving as the Center's journalist-in-residence. Attendees also heard from UW–Madison professor Dhavan Shah and Capital Times reporter Jessie Opoien.

110 attendees
Center director Kathleen Bartzen Culver moderates a discussion with (from left to right) Dhavan Shah, David Folkenflik and Jessie Opoien.
Online forums for discussion and debate
20% increase in online following
60,000 + visitors to the website


The Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics

Photo from left to right: Nada Bakri (Anthony Shadid's widow), Emily Michot, Rhonda Shadid (Anthony's mother), Julie K. Brown, Laila Shadid (Anthony's daughter) and keynote speaker and New Yorker journalist Sarah Stillman.

We announced this year's recipients of the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics in New York City on May 14, 2019. Miami Herald journalists Julie K. Brown and Emily Michot received the prize for "Perversion of Justice," an investigative series that revealed how hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein concealed the full extent of his crimes molesting and sexually abusing underage girls.

Photo top left: members of Anthony Shadid's family look on as a video showcasing this year's award finalists plays. Top right: 2019 Shadid Award winners Julie K. Brown and Emily Michot. Bottom (from left to right): Center board members Chuck Stokes, Owen Ullmann, Shadid winners Emily Michot and Julie K. Brown, board member Brent Jones and Center director Kathleen Bartzen Culver.
Original Reporting on Journalism Ethics

Photo from left to right: Center fellow Claudia Meyer-Samargia, Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet the Press, fellow Jack Kelly and director Kathleen Bartzen Culver.

This year five Center for Journalism Ethics fellows wrote 20 news stories with original reporting on issues in media ethics. We also published stories from outside contributors that brought critical new perspectives on ethics issues of the day.

Our most-read story was Natalie Yahr's "Why should I tell you?: A guide to less extractive reporting," which garnered more than 3,500 unique page views and coverage from NiemanLab.
Center fellow Natalie Yahr interviewing a subject while working as an engagement intern for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Photo by Katie Scheidt / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism


Talking ethics everywhere

Center director Kathleen Bartzen Culver addressed media ethics in news outlets ranging from the LaCrosse Tribune to the Washington Post and spoke to groups across the country, primarily on the topic of “Truth, Trust and the Future of Journalism Ethics.” Culver also worked with clinicians, social service providers, parents and civic leaders in New York to discuss journalism ethics and kids who experience trauma.

The Center’s white papers on drones in journalism, exploring public response and journalists’ practices, continue to help inform news media use of this emerging technology. Culver participated in drone training sessions in partnership with the National Press Photographers Association and the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska.


Center director Kathleen Bartzen Culver addressed media ethics in 26 news stories, including the Washington Post, Politico and Forbes.

Culver for POLITICO: "I think it's very difficult to draw a bright line between what comes out of the president's mouth or his Twitter account and action from other individuals. But that doesn't mean we should accept a normalization of this rhetoric."


From left to right: new board members Jamie Farnsworth Finn, J. Peter Burgess, Neil Heinen and Nick Penzenstadler

The Center for Journalism Ethics benefits from the expertise of an outstanding advisory board. At the close of the 2018-2019 year, we're bidding goodbye to longtime board members Carol Toussaint (Vantage Point) and Dave Zweifel (editor emeritus of the Capital Times), who have made significant contributions to the Center over the years.

We're proud to welcome four new members to the board: Jamie Farnsworth Finn (freelance multimedia journalist), J. Peter Burgess (philosopher and political scientist, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris), Neil Heinen (editorial director, WISC-TV and Madison Magazine) and Nick Penzenstadler (investigative reporter, USA TODAY).

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