Dr. Robert Gutsche, Jr.
Dr. Gutsche's parents were present to accept the honor in his place.
Class of 1999
Dr. Robert Gutsche, Jr. is a leading scholar in the field of Journalism Studies where he applies critical/cultural theory to investigate issues of power in journalism. He is currently Associate Professor in Critical Digital Media Practice at Lancaster University in the U.K.
After working simultaneously on the Tomah Senior High School newspaper and at the Tomah Journal, Tomah Monitor-Herald, and La Crosse Tribune during high school (oft-turning to his parents for proofreading at the kitchen counter), Dr. Gutsche went on to report for outlets in Wisconsin and across the country, such as The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times. Dr. Gutsche helped launch and create non-profit news centers designed to train college students journalism, including at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism at the UW-Madison and The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Iowa, which he co-founded. Dr. Gutsche is a graduate of UW-Richland (now UW-Platteville at Richland), the UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Concordia University Wisconsin, and the University of Iowa where he received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications in 2012.
Dr. Gutsche has led digital innovation in multimedia journalism through teaching focused largely on VR and other immersive storytelling about climate change and race while Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism + Media at Florida International University in Miami, as Research Scholar at University of Missouri’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, and as Digital Journalism Research Fellow at Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. Dr. Gutsche has been named a Disruptive Educator at the CUNY’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism and has received awards from international organizations for his teaching that focuses on social justice, race, environmental justice, and depth reporting. Dr. Gutsche has authored dozens of scholarly articles and several books, including a) Media Control: News as an Institution of Power and Social Control, b) Geographies of Journalism: The Imaginative Power of Place in Making Digital News, c) The Trump Presidency, Journalism, and Democracy, d) Journalism Research in Practice: Perspectives on Change, Challenges, and Solutions, e) Reimagining Journalism and Social Order in a Fragmented Media World, and f) The Future of the Presidency, Journalism and Democracy: After Trump.
Dr. Gutsche frequents popular press as an expert, speaking to cultural/critical interpretations of violence, media behavior, and racism through hundreds of interviews for CNN, France 24, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, CNBC, and the ABC Australia. Dr. Gutsche attributes much of his being and ways of thinking to the education he received in the Tomah Area School District; he can recite most of his teachers’ names and lessons learned from each of them beginning in Kindergarten at Warrens Elementary School to his high school graduation. His civic engagement, scholarship, and care for students comes from the Tomah Area educators with whom he had contact, received life lessons, and even unsolicited advice and support. He tries to repay them through his work today and as a husband and father.