Jack W. Mitchell: Can Public Broadcasting Build Community?


Niagara Foundation organized a remarkable cultural conversation event with Jack W. Mitchell, professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jack W. Mitchell
Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jack W. Mitchell joined the School of Journalism & Mass Communication faculty in January 1998 after a 30-year career in public radio.  He moved to emeritus status in December 2009, but continues to teach one course a semester. He is author of Listener Supported:  The Culture and History of Public Radio in addition to numerous articles and chapters about public broadcasting. As Director of Wisconsin Public Radio for 21 years, Mitchell led the most extensive and successful state or university public radio system in the country. He initiated the transition from the Wisconsin Educational Radio Network into Wisconsin Public Radio, a system of more than 20 stations serving a statewide audience with two networks and a prolific producer of national programming. On a national level, Mitchell was the first employee of National Public Radio. While at NPR, he was instrumental in developing the groundbreaking newsmagazine “All Things Considered”. During his years as the program’s first producer and executive producer, ATC won both the Peabody Award and the DuPont Award. Mitchell received the two highest honors in public radio, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Edward R. Murrow Award, and the Edward Elson National Public Radio Distinguished Service Award.As Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication at UW-Madison, Mitchell has taught the gateway Introduction Mass Communications course required for students applying to the school. He has also taught courses in public broadcasting, broadcast news, intermediate reporting, and professional responsibility. As an emeritus professor, he teaches a course for freshmen on “Media Responsibilities and Realities,” which exams the current performance of both persuasive and journalistic media. His undergraduate and master’s degrees are from the University of Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

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