James L. Baughman, the Fetzer Bascom professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died Saturday, March 26, 2016 after a short illness. He was 64.
Baughman was born in Warren, Ohio, Jan. 10, 1952, the son of Lewis E. and Ann B. Baughman. He grew up in Warren, attending Warren City Schools. He earned his BA from Harvard in 1974 and Ph.D. in History from Columbia in 1981.
Baughman joined the UW journalism faculty in 1979. He revived and regularly taught the History of Mass Communication lecture course and frequently taught reporting classes. A popular instructor, Baughman won the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003.
Baughman served two terms as director of the journalism school, from 2003 to 2009. He oversaw the School's successful centennial celebration in 2005 and helped to establish the Center for Journalism Ethics several years later. As director, he gave many public service talks. He was the first recipient of the Ken and Linda Ciriacks Alumni Excellence Award in 2005, sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
Baughman developed a national reputation for his work on the history of 20th century American journalism and broadcast news. He was the author of four books, including Same Time, Same Station: Creating American Television, 1948-1961 (2007).
Baughman served on the Wisconsin Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1985 to 1992, the last two as chair. At the time of his death, his was chair of the advisory committee of the UW's Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture.
Friends and former students will remember Jim's humor and skill at mimicry. No UW faculty member did a better imitation of Eleanor Roosevelt or Bill Clinton. Less fondly, those who knew him will recall his lifelong and often inexplicable devotion to the Cleveland Indians baseball team.
Survivors include his mother, Ann, of Columbus, Ohio, brother, Milton (Julia) of Columbus, nephew Thomas (Yvonne) of Paso Robles, CA, and niece Kate of New York City, as well as his wife and best friend, Michele (Mickey) Michuda.
In lieu of flowers, Jim would appreciate donations in his name made payable to the UW Madison Foundation for the Library Impact fund in memory of Jim Baughman. US Bank Lockbox 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278. The Fund will support the greatest needs of the UW-Madison Libraries.
A memorial service will be held at 2PM on Friday, April 8, 2016 at CHRIST PRESBYTERIAN, 944 E. Gorham St., Madison with Rev. Glen Reichelderfer officiating. Family will greet friends at church from 12:30 PM until the time of service. Light refreshments will follow.
Please share your memories of Jim.
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The writing of this tribute is rather late in the game. I just discovered Jim's obituary a short time ago this morning. Jim and I both attended Warren G. Harding High School in Warren, Ohio; I had just moved into town for my senior year (Class of 1968) after my parents had sold the farm out in the county. Jim and I somehow discovered each other at Harding and became good friends. Jim was into "mass communications" back then - he and another classmate (Chuck Zaugg?) started a motion picture company they called "Bauzz Arts" (sic), wrote the screenplays, recruited fellow students from Harding to be the actors, did the filming, and then presented the films as Jim's parents' house on Wildwood Drive. The films were amusing takes on various things. Last summer of 2016, I discovered a cache of the screenplays in a long forgotten file box that has traveled far from Warren and ended up in my Blue Hill, Maine place. I wanted to send them to Jim as I thought he would get a very good laugh with this "stab from the past" - but too late. Jim and I shared other interests such as playing the "Risk" game with other classmates, going to the drive-in movies, watching the William F. Buckley television program for the intense debates (needless to say Jim mentioned in an email from 2015 that he "evolved" as I also had), and our "membership" in "The Woodland Avenue Walking Society" - the silly name for a group of Harding students who after school would walk east on Woodland Avenue into the east end of Warren where we all lived. I would not be surprised if Jim came up with the name. My deepest and very belated sympathies to Jim's wife, family, friends, and colleagues at Wisconsin.
While doing some bibliographical work today, specifically looking for the exact title of one of Jim's books, I discovered his obituary. Not shocked, but deeply saddened and selfishly so: I will miss growing old with him and discussing media and business history at the BHC and AHA. While his work will live on, I will miss the baritone voice.
I just heard about my childhood friend Jim 's passing. Went to school with him from kindergarten to our senior year.Had many great moments and talks with Jim when he came home to visit his parents.in Warren Ohio . He was a great influence in my life. I also know he touched the lives of many of his studends and faculty. Rest in Peace my lifelong friend. The world will miss you. Marty Cohen
I met Jim as a student when he was teaching History of Mass Comm at UW in 1984. I was 26, so he wasn't much older than I. His admiration for the muckrakers and the newspapers and magazines that, back in the day, blew the whistle on corporate crimes inflamed my spirit and set me on a path to choose journalism for a major and writing as a career. Jim saw journalism as a noble pursuit, and I loved him for that. His honoring journalism's 4th estate responsibilities and teaching others to respect the calling was a noble endeavor. Jim sometimes had beers and smokes with a couple of us older students afterwards, and it was always a joy to hang around him. His intelligence, wit, charm, and most importantly, heart, will be sorely missed by future students. My eyes water to discover that he is gone, though his presence, his spirit and heart, will always be with me, and with all his students who loved and admired him. God bless you, Jim. We hardly knew ya.' - Richard Lee Matthews
My thoughts are with Mickey, Ann, Milt and the rest of Jim's family at this time. It was not until last week that I learned the sad news of Jim's passing. Jim was a fine person in so many ways. Jim and I met in school in Warren in 7th grade. It was not long before we recognized the things in each other that made us friends, as we went on to high school. For me it was Jim's originality and uniqueness; he was different from the other classmates (as was I), with differences that I felt were worth exploring, and maybe learning from. I kept learning by watching and listening to Jim, and I gained insight into so many worlds that I had had little or knowledge of, until then: musical theatre, especially My Fair Lady; American cinema, and Jim's favorites Welles, Bogart, Ford, Peckinpah and many more, leading to him making his home movies; electoral politics (Jim was the first person I met with a political button collection), etc. There is so much more--I spent a lot of my spare high school time at the Baughman house on Wildwood Avenue, playing pool in the basement, chatting, debating politics, engaging in the adolescent arguments of the day and having adventures, both accidental and intentional I kept up with Jim when we left Warren, visiting him in the abodes of his college (Dunster House at Harvard, his upper West Side NYC apartment) and later adult life in Madison (the West Wilson apartment, his Vilas Hall office, and his house). Most significantly for me, when I was working as a government bureaucrat after college, and on a business trip to Madison I visited him one evening at the Wilson apartment, he told me that I could do something more than be what I was then, and he said that I should seriously consider graduate or professional school. Which I did, going on to get a law degree and practicing law as my career. That same night on Wilson Jim and I each agreed to write the other's biography, which, sadly, won't happen at least on one end.
There are so many more fun times and adventures Jim and I had. He enriched my life, and I am so glad that I knew him.
Jonathan Nachsin (Nax)
I had the privilege of being a student of Prof. Baughman 16 years ago at UW. It was heartbreaking to hear of his passing. I will always remember our chats about baseball (Sox v. Tribe), both during class or at the KK. His impression of Eleanor Roosevelt, his fondness for his wife, and beautiful Wauwatosa. Earning extra credit for knowing how to spell Mientkiewicz, and the advice to stay away from Wild Turkey. But mostly, I'll remember how he was the greatest teacher I ever had and his ability to make learning fun, and class a place you couldn't wait to go to. Nick Jakobi UW '02
To the Baughman family my thought and prayers are with you at this time. So sad to hear of your passing. Al Crouse
So sad to hear of Jim's passing. He was larger than life, even in high school days. He was always such a gentleman and had an undeniable sweetness. The remaking of Marx Brothers movies was a favorite activity of his way back then, and if you were cast in one of these endeavors, you were on cloud nine because it was so much fun! As I read all of the tributes, it is more than apparent that his was a life well lived and that the world lost him way too soon.
I first met Jim back in 1984. My wife and I had just moved into an apartment on West Wilson Street in Madison right next door to Jim. It wasn't long before we met Jim and quickly became friends. Between our apartments was a narrow driveway. This was just about adequate for playing catch. Baseball, as you know, was a passion of Jim's. He loved to play catch, and we played catch regularly. When the softball season finally arrived, Jim asked me to join his team. I wasn't sure how I would fit in, but he assured me that I would have a lot of fun. As I recall, we didn't win very many games, but he was certainly right about having a good time. And it was largely Jim's antics and banter that provided the entertainment! Unfortunately, I've lost track of Jim over the years and was shocked at the news of his passing. Although our friendship was short, I still fondly remember our conversations while playing catch in the driveway so long ago. And really, with Jim is wasn't so much about playing catch. It was more about tossing around the banter! He will surely be missed!
Although I am also the product of the Warren, Ohio city schools, I attended the "other" high school in town, Warren Western Reserve. I knew of Jim, but hadn't met him all through our high school years. We were in the same Class at Harvard/ Radcliffe and I met Jim on our first evening in Cambridge when my gregarious parents insisted that he come to dinner with us. I was as Democrat as Jim was Republican, and through that entire first dinner we had a heated debate on the Ohio Senate race that gave everyone else indigestion. I resolved to steer clear of Jim forever. That lasted a week. I became violently ill the second week of freshman year and was quarantined in the University hospital while the doctors tried to figure out what I had (Salmonella). Jim was my only visitor and arrived daily to toss the Warren Tribune Chronicle at me. I later discovered that he was allowed to visit me because he told the staff that he was my brother from the Divinity School. It was a privilege and never dull to be a classmate of Jim's. We both took a course on American law, one of the largest courses taught at the time. The Professor asked if anyone knew of Alton B. Parker and in the class of hundreds of Harvard students only one hand went up - Jim's to say that Parker lost the 1904 election to Theodore Roosevelt. I convinced Jim to dress up in the John Harvard pilgrim outfit and be the mascot at a Harvard football game. Jim introduced me to the films of Orson Welles, Humphry Bogart, the Chief Wahoo Club and to his friends and roommates, all still my friends today. There could be only one Jim, and I'm grateful to have been his classmate and friend (even though he once informed me that I highlighted all the wrong things in my text book). His wisdom and certainly his wit will be greatly missed.
Connie Cevilla, Western Reserve '70, Harvard / Radcliffe '74
I attended Warren G. Harding, class of 1970, with Jim. He was such a special person, excellent classmate. God bless and keep his family.
Jim was my freshman roommate at Harvard and a lifelong friend, despite his inexplicable Indians devotion. We even still have , I think, only one gift from our 1974 wedding we use regularly - from Jim (a salt/pepper grinder). I
Jim was a friend of my youth in Warren Ohio. We attended the same church and both graduated in 1970 from Harding High School. Jim went to Harvard and I went to Ohio State. After graduating with my veterinary degree I went to the University of Minnesota for a residency and a PhD. I remember going to Madison twice to watch the Buckeyes and Badgers football game with Jim. At least at that time Jim was still a bit of a Buckeye fan. Not much contact over the years, a few e-mails now and then. Good memories of Jim from growing up in Warren, Ohio. John C. Baker, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University.
I only had the pleasure of knowing Jim for a very short time upon his diagnosis. In that time I found out very quickly what a kind, extremely intelligent and funny man he was. Throughout his illness, he seemed to keep a positive attitude and often teased me about helping him grade his students exam papers. I am very grateful that I had the privilege to get to know him. My deepest sympathies to his family and may he rest in peace. Jennifer, RN at Unity Point Health-Meriter clinic.
In addition to Prof. Baughman's great knowledge of the History of Mass Media, his wit and charm, I will always remember how he would begin each class, starting in late January, announcing to the class how many days, "until pitchers and catchers" report. Only baseball fans understood what he meant and it was fun. Peace to you, Prof. Baughman. Go, Tribe! John Anderson, J-School class of '85.
I knew Jim through the political process. He was a very thoughtful person who always wanted to know your opinion first. When you asked his, he always had fully formed ideas and reasons and treated the conversation as an exchange. His approach had you thinking about his views, and you always benefited from your time with him. He had an enthusiasm for his country and deep respect for the people who where his fellow citizens. His sunny disposition was a caution that we shouldn't take things to seriously, because there are always "do overs" in democracy. Yet he was aware critical matters needed excellent solutions right away or the hardship that followed would make correcting matters long and difficult. He was your friend right away if you let him and cared about things important to you if you shared them. Most who knew him have surely said, we had so much more to do with him together. We will now have to rely on our store of memories, recalls, and feelings to guide us when calling him would have been better. My sincerely sympathy to his wife, family and friends. And thanks Jim. Kim Babler
Jim has been a close friend since graduate school days at Columbia. He had an incisive wit, but was always a warm, congenial friend. I last spoke to Jim around his birthday, and looked forward to his calling me on mine, as we usually did.
Jim was a devoted teacher to generations of journalism students at Wiscinsin, and and exceptional scholar of the media and of the emergence of mass culture. His was a voice our country needs to hear at this time.
I'll miss Jim as a dear friend and will always cherish how much he has meant to me as a fellow historian, teacher, and friend.
I took one of his classes back in 1993, at the time I had just been re-accepted back into the UW after having been kicked out for parting to hard. ;) Mr. Baughman helped re-ignite my love of learning. I got my degree in history in 1996, I've traveled all over the world in the business world now. Condolences to his family and friends, Mr. Baughman had a great enthusiasm for teaching. I will raise a drink in his honor tonight. Doug Richardson
Many fond memories of Jim and Friday seminars during the winter of 2000. Thoughts and prayers for Jim and family from Halifax, Canada. Sincerely, Michael Butt
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