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After a News Desert

A news desert is a community without coverage from a daily newspaper. If coverage means timely newspaper reporting on a city’s principal public meetings and events, then Whitewater has been a news desert since the nearby Daily Jefferson County Union stopped reporting on Whitewater’s common council & school board meetings. If coverage means timely, insightful,…

Public Relations v. Journalism

Anyone familiar with a proper newspaper should be able to tell the difference between public relations and journalism: the former advances a corporate or government perspective, the latter reports and assesses that perspective. There are public relations outfits (often called media relations) in big and small communities, with this obvious difference: small communities have few…

The Janesville Gazette‘s Time-Share Stage of Decline

A nearby newspaper, the Janesville Gazette, part of an out-of-state chain (APG) owned by a family that made billions in billboard advertising, recently tried to position half-off advertising as a ‘community grant‘ program. See That’s Not a ‘Community Grant’ – It’s Half-Off Advertising. It’s an old – often true – adage that bad goes to…

Saving What’s Left of the Janesville Gazette

The nearby Janesville Gazette is ending its Saturday and Sunday print editions. See The Gazette to cease Saturday, Sunday print editions. The Saturday edition should have been canceled years ago; ending a Sunday edition, however, is a sign of a grave illness.  For any paper, even one treading water, the Sunday edition should be a mainstay.…

Demand Letters

A demand letter is an attorney’s formal request on behalf of a client for either money or action from a third party. Demand letters can be sent before or after a lawsuit is filed. Although these letters typically demand an amount of money, they can also ask for actions including apologies or retractions for a…

That’s Not a ‘Community Grant’ – It’s Half-Off Advertising

One of the saddest traits of local newspapers is how those publications condescend to readers. Another example of this comes from the Janesville Gazette, where that publication is contending that half-off advertising is somehow a community grant. Splashed all over the webpage of that paper yesterday, one found ads for the so-called community grant program.…

APG Was Always Going to Play a Vulture’s Role

One reads that APG, the out-of-state newspaper chain that purchased two local family papers (Janesville Gazette, Daily Jefferson County Union) is slashing the salaries of those papers’ employees. A few remarks — I’m not a newspaperman, and have never aspired to be one. Bloggers are modern-day pamphleteers, reviving a tradition that was robust during our…

A Newspaper’s Boosterism During a Pandemic

A worthy person – a man or woman committed to reason, honesty, and seriousness of purpose – would have little respect for the Janesville Gazette. This critical view is not a new one, truly: the paper’s work has been inferior during the Great Recession, during an opioid crisis, during cheerleading for countless state and local…

Five Months

In a local newspaper’s story about a former chancellor’s leave of absence, one learns that information about her leave came five months after a public records request: Tuesday marked five months since The Gazette filed an open records request with UW-W for information on Kopper’s leave during the fall semester, when she previously had plans…

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 –…