Popular UW-Madison journalism professor James Baughman is being honored with his own day on Saturday, signed, sealed and delivered by Mayor Paul Soglin himself.

The mayor issued a proclamation making Saturday James Baughman Day in Madison, congratulating the professor for “the love and intellectual passion he has inspired in his current and former students, and for his contributions to scholarship, history, journalism and education.”

Baughman, who has been on the UW-Madison journalism faculty since 1979, is fighting a serious illness and recently has been hospitalized.

Soglin said Baughman, who served two terms as director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2003 to 2009, was at the helm when journalism education needed to expand to include the Internet.

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“He has committed his students to the legacy that ‘the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found,’ ” Soglin said, referencing the “sifting and winnowing” plaque outside Bascom Hall.

Baughman is the Fetzer-Bascom Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison, and also holds an affiliate appointment in the UW-Madison Department of History. He has authored four books on the history of American journalism and broadcasting, and is working on a history of journalism and presidential politics since 1960.

Soglin made note of Baughman’s humor in the proclamation, which he said “made it possible for those around him to excuse his inexplicable and oft-mentioned love of the Cleveland Indians.”

Baughman is an Ohio native.

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