But it is clear that some at UWM view the school's journalism department as a joke as they gave Jessica McBride the nod for the equivalent of tenture.
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Bucher's divorce filing comes less than a month after the executive committee of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's department of journalism and mass communication voted 3-2 to recommend that McBride be given indefinite status - the equivalent of tenure for academic staff.
McBride, a lecturer in the journalism department and a columnist for The Freeman, was represented by Bucher during the process. The recommendation for indefinite status still must be approved by the dean and provost.
Why is this disturbing? It's not because Jessica McBride is deeply ignorant, it's not because of the affair, it's not because of her politics. It's because she is a disaster as a journalist. The Brawler and others have long documented her history of character assassination, her disregard for accuracy (not the same as objectivity) and general slipshod journalistic ethics.
I think I was too defensive in reacting to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story reporting the affair between McBride and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. Worse, I am guilty of the same thing I accused JS reporter Daniel Bice of: I failed to do due diligence regarding the situation.
Specifically, I neglected to demand from McBride all of the e-mails between her and Flynn. I have now done that and was taken aback at what I received. (Brawler's bold) The e-mails do confirm that, other than their one interview in December, McBride and Flynn never met face-to-face until May 1, at their now-infamous encounter at an Irish bar. (In fact, Flynn was using his office e-mail account until then, which suggests neither McBride nor Flynn thought they were doing anything wrong; these are all public records.)
But the e-mails also suggest the two got chatty and friendly – strictly through e-mail, granted, but it’s a lot of e-mail – as soon as McBride finished reporting her story on Jan. 5. I’m also not confident I’ve seen all the e-mail, as McBride couldn’t be sure she hadn’t erased some. That’s all rather disturbing. (Brawler's bold)
Let's be clear. It takes a lot for an editor to call out a writer -- it takes a lot more for an editor to call out a writer who he defended. It takes a lot for an editor to say he lacks confidence in a writer (and McBride's lack of certainty as to whether she erased email is a howler).
What does one look for in a journalism teacher. Obviously one looks for someone who can competently teach the nuts and bolts of journalism -- and in this economy, finding people who can do that ain't hard. But one also looks for someone who has an exemplary record as a practicing journalist, who's been in the trenches, who's operated ethically and who's conduct hasn't been called out by an editor.
The fact that three people on the executive committee thought Jessica lived up to those standards is more than a little confounding.