Gousha spent 25 years as a reporter, anchor and public affairs program host in Milwaukee – indeed, he had the kind of career I wanted upon enrolling as a broadcast journalism major at Marquette University in 1980. Gousha is now a distinguished fellow in law and public policy at the university's law school and hosts "Upfront With Mike Gousha," a Sunday morning program airing statewide. Marquette undergraduates know him primarily as host of "On the Issues With Mike Gousha," the program that brings newsmakers and policy shapers to campus. "We are trying to make a difference in the political discourse in our community," he told my class.
My students clearly enjoyed listening to Gousha talk about the media's role and responsibility in fostering public debate. (It's been a good week for JOUR 4953, as his visit followed that of polling extraordinaire Charles Franklin on Tuesday.) He also discussed the impact of social media on political campaigns, saying candidates love that Facebook lets them better control their message. He also offered some ideas for when the students, as a class assignment, will spend time individually or in pairs covering the Wisconsin primary on April 3.
The class ended with Gousha helping me to urge the students to ask tough questions of those who very much wish they would not. "It's hard," even for someone with his experience and credibility, Gousha said. "You can ask great questions – tough questions – and you don't always get an answer."
Afterward, Gousha shared this with me via email: "Thanks so much for the opportunity to visit with your class. I had a great time and particularly enjoyed the interaction with the students. They were smart, engaged and asked some terrific questions. From where I sat, the future of journalism looked pretty bright, indeed."