William Hachten

Credentials: (1924-2018)

William Andrews Hachten, 93, passed away on May 15, 2018 in Madison. Bill was born November 30, 1924 in Wichita, Kansas and grew up in Huntington Park, California. From early childhood he was involved with football – first as a player and later as a fan and critic of the sport. He attended Stanford University on a football scholarship but played there for just one year before joining the Marine Corps. The Marine V-12 program sent him to UC Berkeley where he played guard on the 1943 and 1944 teams. After the war, he played one more season at Stanford before graduating with a degree in journalism in 1947. He was then drafted by the New York Giants and played as a guard for one season before a knee injury sidelined him permanently.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps from July 1943 to April 1946. After finishing the Marine V-12 program, he trained at Parris Island, Camp Lejeune, and Quantico, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1945.  For over a decade after the war, Bill worked as a professional journalist for several daily newspapers in southern California. In 1950, he took a six-month bicycle tour of ten European nations with a college friend that whetted his life-long love of international journalism and travel. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from UCLA and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, he joined the School of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960. His first book, The Supreme Court on Freedom of the Press, received the 1968 Delta Sigma Chi award for research on journalism.

In 1963, he became a member of the university’s new African Studies Program. Over the next three decades, he conducted research and taught workshops in more than a dozen African nations, and published numerous articles and books on African mass communications, including the groundbreaking Muffled Drums: The News Media in Africa. In 1972-73 he received a Fulbright grant to establish a School of Journalism at the University of Ghana.

After thirty years as a professor, and three years as the School’s director, Bill retired in 1989. But he continued his scholarly work, publishing several new books and continuing to update his popular textbook The World News Prism (the 9th edition, co-authored with James F. Scotton, appeared in 2015).

 You can read his full obituary here.