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Television insiders and Badger alumni look at today’s media

April 22, 2011

It’s the job of those working in broadcast journalism to report on the news, not make news. When five high-profile journalists are invited to discuss the changing nature of television news at their alma mater, however, that’s a different story.

The Wisconsin Alumni Association will welcome five distinguished graduates from the University of Wisconsin–Madison back to campus on Wednesday, April 27 for a panel discussion. “Today’s Media: Insights on the Changing Nature of Television News” will be moderated by UW–Madison journalism professor James L. Baughman, and focus on the challenges and opportunities facing TV news and where it goes from here.

The panel of award-winning, well-known UW–Madison alumni working in the media today includes:

Jeff Greenfield ’64, senior political correspondent, CBS News

Greenfield, a veteran political, media and culture reporter, returned to CBS News as senior political correspondent in May 2007.

He contributes to the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” “The Early Show,” “CBS News Sunday Morning” and other CBS News broadcasts, as well as Prior to his return to CBS News, Greenfield had been senior analyst for CNN since 1998. Before joining CNN, Greenfield was a political and media analyst for ABC News (1983-97), appearing primarily on “Nightline” and delivering weekly commentaries for “World News Sunday.”

Greenfield has won three Emmy Awards, two for his reporting from South Africa and one for a profile of Ross Perot. His work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s and National Lampoon. Greenfield is also the author or co-author of 11 books.

David Tabacoff ’71, senior executive producer, Fox News

Tabacoff is the senior executive producer for “The O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly” at the Fox News Channel.

Prior to his time at Fox, he worked for many years at ABC News in a variety of positions including executive producer of “20/20 Downtown,” senior broadcast producer of “20/20,” and senior producer of “Nightline.” He has an undergraduate degree in political science from UW–Madison, a master’s degree in political science from Rutgers University where he was a fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, and a law degree from Fordham Law School. He also was a Fulbright Scholar studying political science at Auckland University in New Zealand.

Jill Geisler ’72, senior faculty, Poynter Institute for Media Studies

Geisler teaches and consults in the field of leadership and change management in print, broadcast and online newsrooms, and facilitates strategic planning for organizations that want to improve. She’s the author of “News Leadership at the Head of the Class: The Journalist’s Guide to Teaching Leadership Skills and Values.”

Geisler joined Poynter in 1998 after a 25-year career in broadcast journalism. She was the country’s first female news director of a major market network affiliate and built an award-winning newsroom culture at WITI-TV in Milwaukee, her hometown.

She is the author of numerous articles on journalism leadership issues and developed Poynter’s weekly online “Leading Lines” column, serving thousands of subscribers. Geisler was the UW–Madison journalism school’s 1972 “Outstanding Journalism Graduate,” and recipient of its 2004 Distinguished Service in Journalism award.

Peter Greenberg ’72, travel editor, CBS News

Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. He appears on “The Early Show,” “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” and across many CBS broadcast platforms.

He is the consummate insider when it comes to reporting the travel business as news, brings a level of expertise and extensive experience to the travel process. An Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and producer, he was named one of the most influential people in travel by “Travel Weekly,” along with Al Gore, Bill Marriott and Richard Branson.

Greenberg is also host of the nationally syndicated Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio show, broadcast each week from a different remote location around the world. His other current titles include Travel Editor at Large for AARP, Contributing Editor for Men’s Health magazine, and contributor to Parade,, Bing Travel and

Chris Bury MA’77, national correspondent, ABC News

Bury is ABC News’ national correspondent based in Chicago. In this role he reports around the country for all ABC News broadcasts and platforms, including “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline” and “Good Morning America.”

Before this assignment, Bury was a long-time correspondent for Nightline, joining the late-night news program in January 1993, where he also served as former anchor Ted Koppel’s principal substitute anchor. He joined ABC News in 1982 as a general assignment correspondent based in Chicago.

The panel discussion will take place in Grainger Hall, room 1320, 975 University Ave. There will be a pre-event reception beginning at 5:30 p.m., with the panel discussion scheduled from 6-8 p.m. The event is free, but registration is requested here.

The registration deadline is Monday, April 25. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association and offered in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin Foundation, the UW–Madison College of Letters and Science and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.