Will the U be more transparent under new administration?

Wolter

Looks like University of Minnesota News Service Director Dan Wolter, whom I quoted for my post on Kaler’s housecleaning of the President’s Office, will be leaving Friday as well, the Minnesota Daily reports.

He apparently has a job at Pfizer, the large pharmaceutical company.

It’ll be interesting to see how this — along with the December resignation of VP for University Relations Karen Himle and entrance of Eric Kaler as president — affects transparency and media relations at the U. Wolter’s pioneering of social media has been quite useful, and I’ve enjoyed working with him on a number of stories I’ve covered this first year on the job.

But I have to say that on a few too many occasions, his office and the U have been stingier or slower with information than practically any other bureaucracy I’ve covered.

Read my accounts — or practically any (especially early) accounts of the Troubled Waters film controversy. The stonewalling, sidestepping of questions and conflicting “official” stories coming out of the administration created a public relations fiasco for the U.

I’m not alone in saying this. The Minnesota Daily reports in its write-up of Wolter:

Chris Ison, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a former reporter in the Twin Cities, said the News Service has been more obstructive than helpful to the media.

Instead of allowing easy access to all the information, Ison said, the News Service has tried to funnel everything through its office, often stymieing reporters from getting public information — especially in controversial issues.

The issue is undoubtedly bigger than just one man, so I don’t mean to pick on him. And I wish Wolter the best at Pfizer. But I also (probably naively) hope that in these days of increased scrutiny — by both the news media and the legislature — the U becomes a bit more transparent.