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Public Records Requests as Pre-Litigation Actions

Wisconsinites submitting public records requests under the law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31 et seq.) may do so for any number of reasons (and need not declare a motivation of any sort). Not everyone will have the same aims in mind. For someone who’s a publisher (newspaper, magazine, blogger), however, a sensible way to look at…

What Can Be Done About Rural Newspapers (Even Though It Probably Won’t Be)?

Yesterday I wrote that Another Local Paper Changes Hands. With the failure of legacy publishing, what are rural communities to do? (Obvious point: FREE WHITEWATER is not an online newspaper – never aspired to be, never will be. This is a website of independent commentary: aligned with no faction, beholden to no faction.) A few…

Another Local Paper Changes Hands

Local newspapers are changing ownership quickly now.  Knox gave up publishing the Jefferson County Daily Union in December, and now Bliss will sell the Janesville Gazette (and radio stations) this June. These changes of ownership are not coming because the papers are strong: these sales are halfway to fire sales. The new, common ownership (APG)…

The Best Record is a Recording

A video recording of the 5.28.19 Whitewater Unified School Board meeting is now online. It is, truly, a genuine good without merely particular ends.  (Every regular and special board session should be online, by the board’s own policies. See Public Records Request, 5.20.19.) A recording of the full session confirms yet again that the best…

Lessons from a Digital Newspaper Now Making Money

In late April, I wrote about The Media’s ‘Post-Advertising’ Future (advertising’s not enough to sustain publications, subscriptions will prove necessary for most publications, and “[t]he key lesson for publishers is to offer sharp (and sometimes sharp-tongued) writing, to see that content is king”).  (A word about FREE WHITEWATER.  This website accepts no advertising, requires no…

The Media’s ‘Post-Advertising’ Future

Nationally and locally, the media (whether profit or non-profit) continue their significant transformation: the decline of print, the rise of (interactive) digital media, and the collapse of a middle-of-the-road partnership of boosterism between mediocre newspapers and middling officials. Print’s doomed, and so is digital that merely repeats the same banal style of contemporary print. Traditional…

Clever? Not Really…

One reads that the Daily Union, a local paper chasing alleged embezzlement first reported in the Janesville Gazette, has decided to grab the story and add a supposedly clever headline: Honest to goodness, how does editor Chris Spangler expect ordinary people to keep up with a subtle headline like that? One needs to take a…

The Middle Lane is a Dirt Road to Decay, Pt. 2

Last month, this site linked to media critic Margaret Sullivan’s observation that The media feel safest in the middle lane. Just ask Jeff Flake, John Kasich and Howard Schultz: Who is the media’s middle-lane approach actually good for? Not the public, certainly, since readers and viewers would benefit from strong viewpoints across the full spectrum…

Roundup on Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival

There are four recent developments in the debacle that has been the October Warriors and Wizards (formerly Harry Potter) Festival in Jefferson, Wisconsin.  Despite problems during its two years in Edgerton, Jefferson picked up the festival, and the Daily Jefferson County Union touted the shabby festival even as residents were screaming about the low quality…