Virus attacks Wisconsin Journalism - You are the vaccine | WisCommunity

Virus attacks Wisconsin Journalism - You are the vaccine

March 31, 2020 - 11:50am
Man Reading Newspaper
Photo by Roman Craft

The current virus crisis is hitting individuals and businesses economically. One of the industries being . In the last weeks we have seen harsh cuts and failures in Wisconsin's journalism world. 

A little over a week ago the much-loved Isthmus entertainment paper in Madison due to the huge drop in revenue they are suffering. Alt-weeklies and arts papers have been in the current environment because they are largely dependent on advertising income for performers, venues, and events. Since there currently are no events, the ad landscape is grim.

On March 25th news came that Adams Publishing Group, owner of many mid-size papers in the country, was . Adams is the owner of the local , and it appears likely cuts will appear there if they have not already happened. 

Newspaper giant chain Gannett has recently announced s. This will in Wisconsin certainly include the . Social media posts from the staff today express concern over the cuts.

Today staff at the Lee Enterprises received word that Lee is cutting pay for management and workers at the paper.

The Wisconsin State Journal and Cap Times have for years been run in a joint partnership called Capital Newspapers, Inc. that publishes both papers and runs a joing printing facility. Staff at the Cap Times have that these cuts will likely involve them as well. 

Very close to home, in Dunn County the has over the past several years shrunk to a point where there is very little left to cut. The Dunn County News is owned by Lee Enterprises, and is run by . First the paper's local office disappeared. After long-term editor Barb Lyon retired the paper started to lose ground quickly. The new editor at the News was hired by the Leader Telegram, Since then the Dunn County News has been run solely as a part of the Chippewa Falls paper and appears to have no dedicated staff at all. The recent announced cuts at Lee Enterprises will almost certainly affect these local papers as well. 

All of these cuts in Wisconsin journalism are coming at a time when the state is in crisis and getting news out to citizens is more important than ever. You can help by supporting your local papers. Please consider subscribing to them. I know that money is very tight for many of you at the moment as you are trying to ride out this tsunami of issues, but some of you are lucky and hanging in there. News is not free to produce, and local journalism throughout the country is in a tailspin that is only being exacerbated by the shutdown of other businesses across the country. 

While you are at it, consider supporting this publication. Our concentration has been on Dunn County, and often we are the only representative at local governmental meetings. I would love to grow this enterprise to cover more and to do more for the community. or  Many have subscribed recently and you have my most sincere thanks.  I am also working on some other modes of funding and am waiting patiently to hear if we have received an  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Steve Hanson
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