Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jessica McBride: Neither a Pulitzer Prize nominee nor a UW-M faculty member

A few months back, the left cheddarsphere had a great deal of fun pointing out how Charlie Sykes' claim that he was a "Pulitzer Prize nominee" was as hollow a boast as they come. (Short version: To say you're a nominee only means someone -- maybe even yourself -- has submitted your work for consideration to the Pulitzer committee. Ergo there are thousands of "nominees" every year.)
Not surprisingly, Sykes pupil Jessica McBride has a problem with her bonafides as well.

On her blog, Jessica has this to say about herself:

I am a journalism faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Master's degree, Mass Communication, 2004), a Waukesha Freeman newspaper columnist, and a former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and talk radio host.

Unfortunately for Jessica, that bit bolded by the Brawler is factually untrue -- a killer error as the journalism kids call it. That's because Jessica is a lecturer at UW-M. And a lecturer, as defined by the UW System chapter of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, IS NOT considered faculty. Faculty consists of four classifications: professor, associate professor, assistant professor and instructor.

A lecturer like McBride is instead considered instructional academic staff.

(The classification of lecturer as instructional academic staff can be found on page 13 of this document.)

Now, obviously nothing is wrong with being a lecturer. In theory it's a noble activity. But, fairly or not, saying you're part of the "instructional academic staff" sounds a lot less impressive than saying you're part of the "faculty."

As far as the Brawler can see, Jessica misleads on her position at the university for one of two reasons:

  1. She doesn't know that a lecturer is not considered faculty.

  2. She knows a lecturer is not considered faculty but knows it'll sound more impressive to say she's on the faculty.

(One wonders if someone tried to set her straight on this ... obviously she knows people who know the distinction.)

So Jessica misidentifies herself either out of ignorance or outright deception.

Misrepresenting yourself -- with very few exceptions and this doesn't rise to that level -- is a big no-no in journalism. And it's certainly something that a journalism lecturer shouldn't be doing.

How soon will Jessica correct this misrepresentation?

And: Why is Jessica McBride teaching journalism?

UPDATE: Jessica responds.


  1. This is my surprised face.

  2. We had a long-term sub earlier this year at school who, in her email signature, somewhere between the biblical quotes and MLK references, labeled herself a "National Board Substitute Teacher."

    When asked about it by a member of our staff--who actually is a National Board Certified science teacher--the substitute replied, "I just like the sound of it." Then she got incredibly defensive and angry.

    We considered contacting the actual people who do the National Boards, and seeing if there would be any advantage to siccing them on her. But then she left, and became someone else's burden to bear.

  3. This was emailed to me by a faithful reader:

    Did not Ward Churchill get fired for misrepresenting his heritage?
    Actually pretty serious stuff.

    The author who wrote the book about how he brought himself up from the lowest dregs, etc and all was made up.

    Thank you.

    The Real Me

  4. She knows. Googling shows that she's a member of a committee called the Academic Staff Legislative Subcommittee. (There's another but lib blogger on it, too, so the meetings must be fun.)

    Does the newspaper that also id's her column as by a UWM faculty member know, though?

  5. Her CV could use some updating too.

    January 2006-present

    I am a current affairs radio host on the state’s largest radio station.

  6. Ooh, resume gilding! It's an evergreen. As a seasoned journalism...lecturer...she knows that those stories are always trotted out to bring down, say, city administrators or chiefs of police. I have a smidge more respect now for UWM for not allowing her, at least administratively at least, into their bloodstream. Is she an at-will employee? If she is, she now should be fired.

  7. Did I ever tell you guys I was a princess?
    Wow, that was easy. No wonder some of these people talk about the American dream being able to be achieved by anyone. All you seem to have to do is say it, and whallah!

  8. Kay, I just submitted your hilarious post to the Pulitzer Prize committee.
    Therefore, you now are a Pulitzer Prize nominee princess.

    So not take the next step and call yourself a faculty member, too? Then you could be a Pulitzer Prize-nominated professor princess!

  9. Your personal vendetta against Jessica is getting so old. Do you have any original thoughts?

  10. So misrepresenting herself is OK?

    Let's try using the McBride system and ask whether she would write about it if a liberal blogger -- Jim Rowen comes to mind -- falsely claimed to be a faculty member.

    What do you think, cheeseheadbaby?

  11. You never hear the right-wingers defend the specifics when it comes to McBride. All they've got is, "Don't you have anything else better to do?" (As they post on a Web site about Jessica McBride.) When I hear one right-winger address her lying here, inadvertent as it may be, then we can talk.

  12. Cheesybaby, the question on this site is not whether commenters have original thoughts. Your comment is a fine example, hardly original here.

    Point us to an original thought, one not from the daily memo on what right-wingers are to think, on the website that is the topic here.

  13. I'm feeling frisky after inspiring her to change her blog's appearance. Can we start a betting pool as to when she changes her bio and resume, and when the newspaper stops calling her "faculty"?

    Her inflation is not uncommon. I've known a few who simplify / amplify their job to "professor" when speaking to people who might not know the distinctions... or even when they're in front of the college-educated, just to inflate their status. Using the words "tenure," "adjunct," "assistant" and "associate" in conversation usually brings them into line. Saying "they let me talk to students" doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?

    Doesn't every J-school have a few lecturers who are there simply because they're between other jobs and because they can lend a few real-world war stories to the greenhorns?

  14. At my journalism school, we had lecturers who had won, not not just been nominated for, Pulitzer Prizes. In this case, we, er, must rearrange our expectations.

  15. John,
    Put me in for $10 on March. I'm betting she waits until just before the April elections when everyone is watching those races to slip in the changes. She sure isn't going to do it too soon after this exchange because that would be admitting a mistake. Something I don't think she does very easily.

  16. It's not just her -- it may be her department redefining the term.

    See the "Faculty" (underneath the heading for all "Facultyand Instructional Staff") at

    Clicking through to their profiles, a third of the people listed as "Faculty" are not. Whether they have blogs and newspaper columns, and how they label themselves there, who knows.

  17. Perhaps she meant "faulty" and forgot to use spell check.

  18. If she's a faculty member, why didn't she run for the Faculty Senate at her campus? She ran for the Academic Staff Senate.

    (And didn't get elected.)