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Drechsel to head Center for Journalism Ethics

May 21, 2013 By Greg Bump

Professor Robert Drechsel has been named director of the Center for Journalism Ethics (CJE) and Burgess Chair in Journalism Ethics at the UW–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Photo: Robert Drechsel

Robert Drechsel

Drechsel will take over for Stephen Ward, the founding director of the CJE. Ward is leaving to take the position of director of the Turnbull Center in Portland, Ore., in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

“It is a considerable honor to follow Stephen Ward in this position,” Drechsel says. “He built the center from the ground up and gave it a national reputation in five short years. He has left us in a wonderful position to move forward.“

Ward says Drechsel is a “terrific choice” to succeed him at CJE.

“He is a renowned legal scholar with a strong interest in ethical issues in media practice. He has shown continuing interest in the CJE, acting as moderator at conferences and writing for the center’s website,” Ward says. “I know that Professor Drechsel will take the center to new heights of achievement.”

The mission of the CJE is to advance the ethical standards and practices of democratic journalism through discussion, research, teaching, professional outreach and newsroom partnerships.

A gift to the journalism school from alumnus James Burgess, former publisher of the Wisconsin State Journal and executive vice president of Lee Enterprises, endows the Burgess professorship and the CJE.

Drechsel says the practice of journalism is facing as difficult an array of challenges as at any time in its history.

“New technological forms, economic upheaval, the explosion of social media, globalization and pressure for more accountability and even regulation are all issues the modern journalist confronts,” Drechsel says. 

“I’m looking forward to the center’s continued engagement with these issues and with the academics, media professionals, students and members of the public who can help define them, understand them and offer ideas and practices to address them.”