Wanda Garner Cash is the Associate Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the first Fellow to the S. Griffin Singer Professorship. Cash studied under Singer at UT in the late 60s.
A community newspaper veteran with more than 25 years’ experience, Cash previously was editor and publisher of The Baytown Sun, executive editor of The Brazosport (TX) Facts, assistant managing editor of The Galveston County Daily News and editor of the Kerrville (TX) Daily Times.
Cash and her husband Richard also owned a weekly newspaper, The Ingram News, in rural Central Texas for eight years.
A past president of the Texas Press Association and Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and Texas Associated Press Managing Editors, Cash has devoted her career to mentoring young journalists and advocating for open government and public access. That work included her leadership of a media coalition in 2005 to push for a Texas shield law.
During her tenure as TPA president, Cash contributed chapters and edited The News in Texas, an anthology of essays commemorating the 125th anniversary of the press association’s founding.
She has been a TPA member since 1982 and on the board of directors since 1998, working primarily with the Legislative Advisory Committee, jointly comprised of members from TPA and the Texas Daily Newspaper Association. Through this group and various other media affiliations, she has been a long-time advocate of open government, testifying at the Legislature, organizing FOI education efforts, lobbying for public access and resisting attempts to limit the public’s right to know.
In 2004, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips named her to the Judicial Advisory Council’s Committee on Public Access to Court Records.
As a past president of the FOI Foundation, Cash traveled to Mexico in 1998, meeting with newspaper editors hoping to draft that country’s first freedom of information laws. She remains on the FOIFT board where she is part of the Light of Day project, which aims to develop greater emphasis on open government reporting in journalism programs at Texas colleges and universities.
She is also on the national FOI Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and was a delegate in an ASNE study mission to Cuba in October 2002.
In 1994, during her tenure as president of the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors, she chaired a Texas APME study of the University of Texas Journalism Department’s news-public affairs sequence. The study yielded a report with recommendations on how the program should evolve to meet the changing needs of the newspaper industry. The study also helped launch Cap Link, UT’s innovative student news service.
Cash is a frequent speaker at newspaper industry meetings and editing workshops and in high school and college journalism classes.
She served two terms as president of the Texas State Arts and Crafts Fair and was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards to the board of the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Before moving into the newspaper business, Cash worked for the Joske’s of Texas department store chain as coordinator of radio and television advertising. After returning to college for a graduate degree, she taught high school journalism for seven years.
Cash received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1971 from UT-Austin and attended the UT Graduate School of Education where she was certified as a secondary reading specialist in 1975.