Northwestern community remembers former Medill lecturer

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From 1985 to 2000, Bill Jauss appeared on "The Sportswriters on TV," pictured above, discussing hot sports topics. He died Wednesday at 81.

Cat Zakrzewski, Assistant Campus Editor

Bill Jauss, an adjunct lecturer in Medill from 1964 to 1979, died Wednesday at the age of 81.

The Northwestern community remembers Jauss (BSJ ’52) as a groundbreaking sports journalist, beloved professor and passionate Wildcat.

“He always came across as a top-notch professional with high standards who also had this deep love of sports,” said Roger Boye (MSJ ’71), associate professor emeritus.

Jauss is remembered in sports journalism as one of the first reporters to work across media platforms in newspapers, radio and television. He worked for the Chicago Tribune for 37 years, according to the newspaper’s obituary. He also achieved fame on the “Sportswriters on TV” panel.

During his fifteen years at Medill, Jauss taught freshman and sophomore writing labs, said Boye, who worked with him during the 1970s.

“You would just hear the highest accolades about Bill Jauss,” Boye said. “It was the quality of journalism that he practiced on a day-to-day basis and then brought back into the classroom.”

According to Boye, Jauss was known for his “creative” teaching exercises, including rotating rewrites, an assignment still used today in the Medill Cherubs Program, a summer journalism program for high school students. During the rotating rewrites exercise, a student must write and rewrite a lead until it is approved by the professor, which can take more than 20 attempts.

Carl Schierhorn (BSJ ’71, MSJ ’73)  said Jauss was his professor in his first newswriting class. He remembered the rotating rewrites assignment from his time at Medill and said it taught perseverance.

“Bill taught me to be exact, be accurate, and if you can, have fun writing,” Schierhorn said.

Schierhorn, now an associate professor of journalism and mass communication at Kent State University, said Jauss’s assignments were always fun.

“I remember mostly feeling he’s a teacher who was very good, who cared about us, and who grew to a point where he was a friend, someone who we were close enough to invite to our wedding,” Schierhorn said.

Boye said Jauss’s legacy would continue through Medill alumni.

“The standards that he championed reverberate through the generations, through the students who he had in class who are carrying those kinds of same standards forward,” Boye said.

The famed reporter’s passion for the NU community was well known. Jauss did not just cover NU sports, but actually lettered during his undergraduate years. He lived in a house by Ryan Field for 47 years, according to a Chicago Tribune article.

“We appreciate his coverage for so many years and his friendship,” said Doug Meffley, Northwestern Athletics senior associate director. “Big or small, he loved a good story.”

Jauss is remembered by many of his colleagues at the Tribune for his ability to write about any sport and his local notoriety, which stemmed from his love of Chicago sports, according to a Chicago Tribune article.

“Medill has been blessed with a number of distinguished sports writers,” Boye said. “Certainly Bill Jauss is a key name in that list of distinguished Medill alumni.”

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