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Nothing Says Dog-Crap Publication Like Dog-Crap Ads

One can estimate a for-profit publication’s value in the marketplace by the ads it attracts. The leaves the Janesville Gazette, a rusty link in an out-of-state newspaper chain, in a weak position: it’s running dog-crap ads. Consider this canine calling-card displayed on the Gazette’s main page today, 1.9.20 (‘Trump Is On A Roll…Ends Another Obama…

If Not 2020, When?

In August, the Journal Sentinel published a story, Liberal ‘news’ websites launching in Wisconsin, where conservative versions have thrived. (From the viewpoint of the JS, these are ‘news’ sites not news sites, as the paper is suspicious of non-traditional reporting. Without seeing some of the online publications, however, the scare quotes seem presumptuous.) These months later, only…

Cancel Your Local Newspaper?

Over at Politico, press critic Jack Shafer writes – provocatively – Care About Journalism? Maybe You Should Cancel Your Newspaper: It’s heresy for a journalist to ask readers to consider dropping their newspaper. Beyond the obvious self-interest, reporters and editors consider a subscription to your local newspaper as a paramount civic duty, a view shared by…

‘Bothsiderism’

Gina Overholser, a writing about a liberal paper, remarks of the New York Times that Its investigative and enterprise work rises to today’s unprecedented challenges. But in day-to-day political reporting, the Times is hopelessly stuck in the past. Its proud allegiance to presenting “both sides” in a time of political breakdown renders it a handmaiden…

On the Scatalogical

It’s a crime (and a repulsive wrong) for someone to relieve himself repeatedly – over years – on the grounds of a public park. (The park where this happened was Natureland, a small, lovely spot in this area where visitors deserved none of this.) Someone who does so should be – and recently was –…

The Lazy, False Equivalance in Craig Gilbert’s Analysis

A lazy, false equivalence runs through Craig Gilbert’s (@WisVoter) over-reliance on claims of hyper-partisanship. At the Journal Sentinel, he writes that ‘Nakedly partisan, rhetorically vicious’: Trump impeachment is echo of Clinton’s from two decades ago. The same conflation diminished Gilbert’s analysis in a 12.2.19 story (‘For voters in this purple part of Wisconsin, the impeachment…

Who Implied That Toppers Might Move Its Headquarters? Whitewater’s City Manager, That’s Who

In a Janesville Gazette story from 12.5, Whitewater’s city manager, Cameron Clapper, is reported as saying that another paper’s coverage incorrectly implied that Toppers Pizza might move its Whitewater headquarters. In fact, the video of a recent Community Development Authority (CDA) meeting from 11.21.19 reveals that it was Clapper, himself, who implied that Toppers might move.…

Local Government’s Failure to Speak Independently and Effectively

There’s a story at the Janesville Gazette that illustrates the inability of Whitewater, Wisconsin’s local government to communicate effectively on its own.  The story, primarily, is about the ongoing search for a stand-alone grocery store to come to Whitewater.  See Whitewater city manager remains ‘optimistic’ city will get a grocery store (Beleckis, reporter; Schwartz, editor). Routine,…

A Local Newspaper Squeaks

Local newspapers like the nearby Janesville Gazette often self-servingly contend that they’re like the last oasis before a news desert. It’s closer to the truth to say they’re a contributor to an increasingly arid local climate. Even stories that reveal some information hold back from readers other key documents that would aid in fuller understanding…

Government Breaks for Local Newspapers are a Bad, Bad Idea

There’s understandable worry that communities across America are losing their local newspapers, and so one hears that something simply must be done to save them.  Clara Hendrickson, in Local journalism in crisis: Why America must revive its local newsrooms, proposes that we (1) “provide public funding for local journalism” (via tax incentives, mainly), (2) “address…

Janesville Gazette’s Reprehensible Story About an Alleged Sexual Assault

At the nearby Janesville Gazette, there’s a story about an alleged sexual assault that’s simply reprehensible reporting: Excessive drinking was prelude to sex assault, court document alleges. (The reporter, Frank Schultz; editor, Sid Schwartz.) Here’s how Schultz’s story begins – a single-sentence first paragraph: An 18-year-old Janesville man is accused of second-degree sexual assault after…

What the New Dealers Got Right – What Whitewater’s Local Notables Got Wrong

There’s sound reason to doubt that the New Dealers’ economic solutions to the Great Depression were effective, but there’s no doubt that Roosevelt’s Brain Trust was hard-working, smart, and candid in its description of America’s economic problems. For a critical assessment of the New Deal, written accessibly, see The Forgotten Man: A New History of…

Why Feature Stories on Major Topics are Now Often a Waste of Time

Feature stories on major topics, in which the author begins a multi-paragraph description of a person or scene before offering a substantive consideration of the topic, have today little use in newspapers.  These stories are meant to set a scene, and perhaps evoke emotions in readers who are, the author presumes, indifferent or ignorant of…

The Janesville Gazette‘s Sketchy Reporting on Major Topics

The nearby Janesville Gazette, a newspaper that insists ‘local matters,’ too often reports on Whitewater’s local matters in a careless way, ignoring key information.  Whether that paper’s omissions are through negligence or by design, reporting like this ill-serves Whitewater. (In fairness, the Gazette long ago ran itself into the ground, and sold out this summer…