Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Advisory Board

The founding advisory board for the Center for Journalism Ethics was established February, 2010. The board meets annually to review center activities, provide advice and counsel, and assist the director in furthering CJE’s mission.


Kathy Bissen is Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer at Wisconsin Public Television and is responsible for the creation and delivery of a wide range of broadcast and digital services for the statewide network. Previously Bissen was Executive Producer of News and Public Affairs at WPT; produced multiple PBS documentaries; launched GET REAL!, a children’s television series that aired on commercial and public broadcasting; co-founded WisContext, a digital news and information service; and was co-director of LZ Lambeau, the largest community engagement event in PBS history. Her work is widely recognized, having earned a National Emmy for a documentary on political advertising, multiple USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Political Journalism, Parents’ Choice Awards, regional Emmys and Edward R. Murrow Awards. During her career, she has reported extensively on science, health, legal, educational and environmental issues.


James “Jim” Burgess grew up in La Crosse and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from UW-Madison in 1958. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he interned at several newspapers. He was business and production manager at the Missoula Missoulian and publisher of the Helena Independent Record, both in Montana. He went on to be publisher of the La Crosse Tribune and eventually executive vice president of Lee Enterprises, charged with corporate management and overseeing 19 newspapers from the Midwest to the West Coast. He then served as publisher of the Wisconsin State Journal. He has been a member of the Board of Visitors for the College of Letters & Science since 1997, and is a member of the School of Journalism & Mass Communications Board of Visitors as well. He has served on and chaired a number of other boards, including Edgewood College, the Madison Community Foundation, the Madison Chamber of Commerce, Meriter Hospital, the UW Medical Foundation and the Overture Foundation. In 2005, Burgess was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Wisconsin Alumni Association. That year, he also endowed Burgess Chair in Journalism Ethics. Burgess lives in Madison with his wife, Catherine. They share four children and 10 grandchildren.


Photo of J. Peter Burgess

J. Peter Burgess is a philosopher and political scientist whose research and writing focus on the meeting place between culture, technology and politics, with a special emphasis on the theory and ethics of risk, insecurity and vulnerability. He is Professor of Philosophy and holds the Chair in Geopolitics of Risk at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. He holds adjunct professorships at the University of Copenhagen and in the Research Group for Law, Science, Technology and Society of the Free University Brussels. He has written widely on questions of risk and uncertainty, societal security, security technologies, terrorism, surveillance, law and ethics, political and social theory, international relations, gender and the history of culture. Burgess grew up in the U.S. Midwest and earned degrees from the Universities of Colorado, Iowa, Chicago and Columbia University before settling in Norway to raise his family. With three half-Norwegian children grown-up and out the door and a wife on mission with the International Committee of the Red Cross he moved to Paris in 2016 to take his current post.


James E. Causey is an award-winning  special projects reporter, editorial columnist and contributing editor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Causey has spent more than 30 years as a professional journalist since becoming the first and the youngest African-American high school intern at the Milwaukee Sentinel at age 15. He worked for the paper every summer until completing high school and then became a night cops’ reporter while studying journalism at Marquette University where he later received his bachelor degree. Causey continued his education at Cardinal Stritch University, and received his MBA in 2002.

In 2008, Causey received a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University. During his time there, he studied the effects of hip-hop music on urban youth. After returning from his fellowship at Harvard, he joined the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board as a columnist, writing several columns weekly until  October 2014, when he was promoted to  Engagement Editor. Causey is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), former president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association, and member of Phi Beta Sigma Inc. He was also awarded the 2013 Morse-Marshall alumni of the year, and a Scripps Howard Award finalist in 2013. In 2018, Causey received a NABJ award for his work on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel special project, 50-Year-Ache. Along with his professional accomplishments, Causey is a self-published author of two fiction books.

JAMie farnsworth finn

Photo of Jamie Farnsworth Finn

Jamie Farnsworth Finn is a freelance writer, digital consultant and content strategist. Finn focuses on parenting, lifestyle and education content across digital, social and broadcast platforms. She has over a decade of network news experience between CBS and NBC News, where she most recently managed a parenting website while also managing brand and social strategy. Finn’s range of experience includes traveling as part of then President-elect Obama’s press corps, investigating sexual assault in the military, and profiling programs for incarcerated parents. She has produced multiple live education-focused broadcasts, while also spear-heading digital engagement to promote, enhance and maintain the broadcasts’ reach.

Finn started her career at CBS News as a page and worked her way up to producing for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric before moving to NBC News to work on Rock Center with Brian Williams, a newsmagazine show. She holds a bachelor of arts in journalism and women’s studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and young sons. 


Ellen Foley is a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna, an award-winning journalist, an accomplished digital media advisor and a strategic communications corporate executive. She is president of Ellen Foley Ink, a communications consulting company specializing in strategic marketing. Foley worked as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at WPS Health Solutions until 2017. She wove an interest in journalism and strategic communications ethics throughout her 33-year career as a daily journalist, a stint leading an election campaign and in her job in the health insurance industry. Foley specializes in complex and community-focused strategic work. Her efforts as editor-in-chief at the Wisconsin State Journal earned the journalists there many awards for online and print projects, including a Pulitzer Prize finalist honor in 2008. In 1988, Foley founded the Violence Against Women Coalition in Minneapolis-St. Paul after the tragic murder of her sister, Mary. The coalition successfully advocated for legislative change of the penalties for sexual predators. In Madison, Foley volunteers as a marketing advisor at Reach Dane, one of the area’s highly regarded providers of early education teaching, including Head Start. She earned a master’s in journalism and a bachelor’s degree in political science, both at UW-Madison.


Jill Geisler is the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago. She also serves as the Freedom Forum Institute Fellow in Women’s Leadership, heading its Power Shift Project. Geisler teaches and coaches newsroom leaders worldwide. She spent 16 years guiding the leadership and management programs of the Poynter Institute. She is the author of the book “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” writes a management column for the Columbia Journalism Review, and produces the podcast: “Q&A: Leadership and Integrity in the Digital Age.” Her first career was in broadcast journalism, as a reporter, anchor, and one of the first female TV news directors in the United States at WITI-TV in Milwaukee. She has been inducted into multiple media halls of fame. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UW–Madison and a masters in leadership studies from Duquesne University.

Mike Gousha

Headshot of Mike Gousha

Mike Gousha serves as a distinguished fellow in law and public policy at Marquette University Law School, where he explores key public policy issues through his work at the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education. An award-winning journalist, he has been the sole moderator of numerous televised political debates held at the Law School, including the final debate of Wisconsin’s historic 2012 recall election for governor. Gousha recently completed an 11-year stint as contributing anchor and political analyst at WISN-TV in Milwaukee and hosted the statewide political program, UpFront with Mike Gousha. Prior to joining Marquette in 2007, he had a 25-year career with WTMJ-TV, where he served as lead anchor and covered politics. He also is the co-producer of a PBS documentary that aired nationally in the summer of 2020, recounting the nearly half-century that Milwaukee was led by socialist mayors.

Gousha is a member of the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame, as well as the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He received the Associated Press’ Carol Brewer Award for long-term contributions to broadcast journalism in Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Journalism School’s Distinguished Public Service Award. Gousha also is the recipient of the United Community Center’s Friends of the Hispanic Community Award and the Milwaukee Urban League’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Legacy Award. He graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in journalism.

Katie Harbath

Katie Harbath is a global leader at the intersection of elections, democracy, civic, and tech. She is the founder and CEO of Anchor Change, a civic tech strategies firm focused on developing solutions at the intersection of tech, policy, and business focusing on global issues related to democracy, elections, and civic engagement online. Prior to starting her own firm she was a public policy director at Facebook where, over the course of ten years, she was credited with building out and leading a 30-person global team responsible for managing elections. She also played a significant role in building another team of over 30 people that works to get governments and elected officials around the world – at the local, regional, and national levels – to use Facebook and Instagram as a way to connect and engage with constituents.

This work included managing the global elections strategy across the company by working closely with product teams to develop and deploy civic engagement and election integrity products including political ads transparency features; developing and executing policies around elections; building the teams that support the government, political, and advocacy partners; working with policymakers on shaping the regulation of elections online, and serving as a spokesperson for the company about these issues. Katie was involved in this work in major elections for every country around the globe including the United States, India, Brazil, United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Philippines, and Mexico.

Prior to Facebook, Katie held senior strategic digital roles at the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, DCI Group and multiple campaigns. Katie is on the boards of the National Conference on Citizenship, Democracy Works and the Center for Journalism Ethics at UW–Madison. She was named one of the top 50 people to watch in politics by Politico in 2014 and a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2009. Katie holds a BA in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Phil Haslanger

Phil Haslanger has straddled the worlds of skepticism and belief in two careers. A UW-Madison grad (BA in sociology in 1971, MA in journalism in 1973), he worked at The Capital Times from 1973 to 2008 as a reporter, city editor, editorial page editor and managing editor. He was part of the team that launched in 1995. During his time on the editorial page, he served as president in 2002 of what was then the National Conference of Editorial Writers. More recently, he was on the board of the Religion News Service and served as president in 2016. During the 2000s, he began exploring a career in ministry and was ordained in 2007 as a minister in the United Church of Christ. He served as a pastor at Memorial UCC in Fitchburg until retiring in 2017. He continues to be involved in a variety of community issues, including serving on the board of the Madison-area Urban Ministry and on the Leadership Circle of Dane County’s Domestic Violence Coordinated Community Response team. He is married to Ellen Reuter and has two sons and two daughters.


Photo of Neil Heinen.

Neil Heinen is the Editorial Director for WISC TV and Madison Magazine. Heinen has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Opinion Journalists (formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers) including serving as president in 2007, and is a past president of the AOJ Foundation. He received the organization’s highest honor of Life Membership in 2013. He is a member of the clinical faculty of the Kettering Foundation, and for 15 years was a member of the adjunct faculty of Edgewood College.

Heinen has won numerous professional and community awards including the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Humanitarian Award, Robert H. Wills Freedom of Information Award, the Urban League of Greater Madison Community Champion President’s Award, The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute Difference Maker Award and the National Association for Community Leadership Distinguished Leadership Award. He was born in Milwaukee in 1951, is the oldest of eleven children, and is a graduate of Marquette University High School in Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He lives in Madison with his wife Nancy, and their dog Macaroon.

Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson is a Justice Correspondent for the Washington Desk. She covers a wide variety of stories about justice issues, law enforcement and legal affairs for NPR’s flagship programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she will be a Nieman Foundation Fellow at Harvard University. Prior to coming to NPR in 2010, Johnson worked at the Washington Post for 10 years, when she closely observed the FBI, the Justice Department and criminal trials of the former leaders of Enron, HealthSouth and Tyco. Earlier in her career, she wrote about courts for the weekly publication Legal Times. Her work has been honored with awards from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She has been a finalist for the Loeb award for financial journalism and for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for team coverage of the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Benedictine University in Illinois.


Brent Jones joined The Wall Street Journal as assistant managing editor for training and outreach in February 2018. His newsroom experience spans more than 20 years and includes overseeing newsroom standards and ethics; journalism training and recruitment work; college partnerships; and running a year-round newsroom intern program. Prior to joining the Journal, Brent was head of standards and ethics for the USA TODAY Network’s flagship publication and 109 local newsrooms. As head of standards and ethics for USA TODAY’ Network’s flagship newsroom, he created, produced and hosted the publication’s first media ethics podcast called Off the Record, a monthly program that focused on ethical considerations behind news coverage. Jones’s body of work underscores a commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as a passion for coaching and mentoring young newsroom talent. His development and management of USA TODAY’s robust, year-round internship program served as a template for USA TODAY Network’s enterprise student programming strategy. Jones frequently speaks on career forums and serves on the board of advisers for The Trust Project, Power Shift Project and the advisory committee on the future of Online News Association. USA TODAY Network recognition includes the 2005 All-Star Enterprise Award; the Chairman’s Award; and the company’s 2010 and 2016 Individual Leadership Diversity awards. He is a member of the Online News Association and the National Association of Black Journalists, where he served as a past vice president of NABJ’s Washington, D.C., chapter.


Marty Kaiser is the first Howard Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Maryland Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, where he is helping to launch the new Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. Kaiser was Editor/Sr. Vice President of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1997 to 2015. Under his leadership, the Journal Sentinel earned a national reputation for its journalism and digital innovation. Kaiser’s newsroom won three Pulitzer Prizes and was honored as a finalist six other times. In 2009, Editor & Publisher magazine named Kaiser Editor of the Year. He was  president of the American Society of News Editors 2009-2010. In addition to the Journal Sentinel, he worked for the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times and Florida newspapers in Sarasota and Clearwater. He earned his bachelors at The George Washington University and completed the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management Executive Program.


Photo of Nick Penzenstadler

Nick Penzenstadler is an investigative reporter at USA TODAY where he works on national investigations. His team specializes in data analysis and project management for collaborations across the 109 community newsrooms within Gannett. He has piloted reporting collaborations at USA TODAY withProPublica, The Center for Public Integrity, Tegnabroadcasting and Kaiser Health News. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NBC and NPRpromoting his work.

Before joining USA TODAY, he was a city hall reporter at The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis. He served as the state’s correspondent for USA TODAY’s national news desk. Previously, he worked as a military and general assignment reporter at the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota. Penzenstadler graduated from UW–Madison in 2010 with with a B.S. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Department of Political Science. He served as a reporter, editor and publisher at The Badger Heraldfrom 2006-2010. He lives in New Berlin, Wisconsin with his wife Kate and twin daughters.


Chuck Stokes is the editorial/public affairs director for WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 in Detroit, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as moderator and producer of Spotlight on the News, Michigan’s longest-running weekly news and public affairs show. Before he became Channel 7’s editorial/public affairs director, Stokes worked as the station’s executive producer of special projects in news. And prior to joining WXYZ-TV, Stokes was employed at WTVF-TV in Nashville, Tennessee, as a producer and on-air reporter. Stokes has accumulated a long list of personal awards and achievements including 12 Emmys for editorial reporting and two Emmys for documentary reporting. In 2001, Stokes received the “The Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a past president of both the National Conference of Editorial Writers and its Foundation. In 2011, Stokes was inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame and in 2012 he received the “Life Membership Award” from the Association of Opinion Journalists (formerly called the National Conference of Editorial Writers).


Owen Ullmann is the executive editor of the International Economy Magazine. From 1999 to 2019, he held a variety of senior management and editing positions at USA TODAY, including managing editor for special projects. Prior to joining USA TODAY in 1999, Ullmann worked in Washington, D.C., covering economics, politics, foreign affairs and the White House for Business Weekmagazine, Knight-Ridder Newspapers and The Associated Press. He has won two awards from the White House Correspondents’ Association for coverage of President Reagan. He received his master’s degree in 1973 from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the UW-Madison, which has twice honored him with awards for distinguished journalism.

Past board members

tom bier

The bulk of Tom Bier’s journalism career was spent in the newsroom of WISC-TV, Madison’s CBS affiliate. Starting as a news reporter in 1974, Tom was named  WISC-TV news director in 1977, a position he held for 25 years. Tom was then promoted to station manager and served the last three years of his 42-year station tenure as general manager overseeing WISC-TV, Channel 3000 and Madison Magazine operations. Tom has been involved in several journalism organizations including the Radio Television Digital News Association  where he served ten years on the RTDNA board including one year as the national organization’s Chairman.


Scott Cohn is an internationally recognized reporter, and an alumnus of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Based in northern California, Cohn serves as a special correspondent for CNBC. He also reports for NBC News, MSNBC, Public Television’s Nightly Business Report, and the American Public Media program Marketplace. In 2014, he founded Twiddlewater Media Ltd., a full-service news production and consulting firm. He assumed his current role after more than 25 years as a reporter for CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989 and eventually rising to Senior Correspondent. He has also worked as a reporter and anchor for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

rick fetherston

Rick Fetherston graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and law.  He was a television journalist for 22 years before leading the corporate communications division at American Family Insurance for 22 years, retiring as senior vice president and a member of the senior leadership team.  He served on the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics authority board of directors from 2011-2014. Rick and his wife Judy A. Fetherston, a registered nurse, have been married since 1975 and have raised three sons.


Peter Fox has more than 35 years’ experience in communications. He is executive director of the Park County Community Foundation in Livingston, MT. He holds bachelors and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fox spent 24 years in newspapers in Wisconsin and Montana, including nine years as editor of The Journal Times in Racine. Subsequently, he served as director of public information for the UW System Administration, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Employment Relations, and as executive director of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. He is a recipient of the SJMC “Distinguished Service Award” and the WNA “Distinguished Service Award for Contributions to Wisconsin Newspapers” for “… his relentless advocacy to ensure public access to government records and meetings.”


Jack W. Mitchell joined the School of Journalism & Mass Communication faculty in January 1998 after a 30-year career in public radio. He was the first employee of National Public Radio and the first producer of its seminal program “All Things Considered.” During his 21 years as head of Wisconsin Public Radio, he served 12 years on the NPR board, three as chairman. He is author of Listener Supported: The Culture and History of Public Radio in and Wisconsin on the Air: 100 Years of Public Broadcasting in the State that Invented It. In December 2009, Mitchell moved to emeritus status.


John Smalley has been editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, WI, since December 2008. Prior to that he was editor of the La Crosse Tribune from 2002-2008. The State Journal is a 90,000-circulation daily with a newsroom staff of about 65. In La Crosse, Smalley led a staff of about 45 at the Tribune, a 30,000-daily circulation. Smalley returned to La Crosse after serving as editor of the Mason City Globe Gazette in Iowa from 1997-2002. Smalley was born and raised in Evansville, WI, and is a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse graduate. He and his wife, Barbara, have four grown children and live in Verona, WI.


Working independently and with a national firm, Carol Toussaint has advised nonprofit organizations on public policy issues and fund development strategies. She has extensive experience working with corporate and community foundations as an executive director, consultant and volunteer. Her state government experience includes heading an executive branch agency, directing the Strategic Development Commission and leading an economic impact study of the nonprofits arts. Active in community organizations, Toussaint also operates a lecture business in Madison. The recipient of the Distinguished Alumna award from the School of Journalism and the Wisconsin Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award, Toussaint is one of the original board members of the Center for Journalism Ethics.


Richard Vitkus has more than forty years of broad legal and corporate experience: twelve years with a major Chicago law firm in a wide ranging commercial practice; two years as International Counsel and eight years as General Counsel of Beatrice Foods; and a series of General Counsel positions in both public and private corporations. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, and a breadth of knowledge dealing with boards of directors, takeovers, bankruptcies and international matters. Vitkus currently serves on the advisory board for litigation management company Drystone Capital Corporation of Washington, D.C., and as a director for not-for-profit legal services enterprise Chicago Appleseed, and for Creative Occasions, Inc., a Nashville-based wholesale bakery business. Vitkus spent 12 years as a partner at Winston & Strawn, a major Chicago law firm with a broad commercial practice. Richard holds a bachelors degree from UW-Madison and law degree from the University of Michigan.  He was an active duty officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1961 to 1963.

dave zweifel

Editor Emeritus Dave Zweifel has been with The Capital Times since he graduated from UW-Madison School of Journalism in 1962, serving as the paper’s editor in chief from 1983 to 2008. He was president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council for 15 years, served as a Pulitzer Prize judge in 2000 and 2001 and named to the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Milwaukee Press Club’s HOF in 2014. A native of New Glarus, WI, where he grew up on a farm, he serves on several non-profit boards and is a military veteran, having served on active duty as a field artillery officer in the early 1960s and for 26 years in the Wisconsin Army National Guard where he retired as a colonel in 1993.