Wisconsin Public Radio

Odd, unquestioning AP story misses point on University of Wisconsin's 'religion center'

Odd, unquestioning AP story misses point on University of Wisconsin's 'religion center'

Once upon a time, the Associated Press could be depended upon to deliver solid, basic, hard-news stories which informed readers about a given event or issue. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known of course as Mark Twain, famously declared: “There are only two forces that can carry light to all the corners of the globe … the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here.”

Reading the AP's report -- perhaps more properly titled an "aggregation" -- on developments at the University of Wisconsin, one wonders if the AP of Twain's day is far less recognizable today. Instead of insights, we get hints and teases of information, and nothing more. I'd call that a journalism problem, wouldn't you?

Under the rather bland headline "University of Wisconsin-Madison starts new religion center," the AP story, seen online at websites for the Chicago Tribune and other outlets, is short on details:

A new center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hopes to spread religious literacy on campus.
The Center for Religion and Global Citizenry comes after the Luber Institute for the Study of Abrahamic Religions closed last year due to lack of funding, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Neither the AP nor the original Wisconsin Public Radio story shed much light on the questions raised by the reporting. Who funded the now-shuttered Luber Institute? Who is funding the new Center for Religion and Global Citizenry? What do the funders expect from the new project?

Let's remember that the University of Wisconsin system is a state-funded campus.

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