This is the time of year for endings - the end of the school year brings a lot of Madison stories to a close as their protagonists head out of town to pursue the rest of their lives. Thus it is also a time for new beginnings. Here is one such story as observed through the pages of this publication.
Jason Shepard first appeared in Isthmus as the subject of a news story. He was a student member of a UW committee studying a faculty speech code. The object of this code was to protect students by prohibiting professors from calling them names or otherwise ridiculing them. To their credit, Shepard and two other students on the committee opposed the code altogether, believing in the absolute ideal of freedom of speech. You could tell then that Shepard, a UW journalism major, had picked the right profession.
Shepard landed a job with The Capital Times as a police reporter. He did yeoman's work there until he picked up and went to the South Bronx, where he taught in the public schools. While there, he obtained a master's degree in education from Pace University.
In 2004 he returned to Madison and in September began a biweekly column for Isthmus, "Talking Out of School," which dealt with educational matters. He also contributed the occasional crime-related story. On April 2, 2008, Madison was shocked to hear of the gruesome murder of Brittany Zimmermann. A month later Madison was shocked to learn, through the pages of Isthmus and TheDailyPage.com, that Zimmermann had called 911 just as she was being assaulted. The police were never notified. This was reported by Shepard. It caused quite a media storm, as you may recall.
The Madison chapter of the Jason Shepard story has come to an end. He's wrapping up his doctorate in journalism from the UW and this Friday loads up his car and heads to Cal State Fullerton to assume his new job as assistant professor of journalism. It's been a great tale so far. Let's hope we hear from Jason Shepard again.