Weekly Briefing | Dec. 20, 2018
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Sauk County judge rebukes officials for withholding records

In a 32-page decision filed Friday, an out-of-county judge sharply criticized Sauk County officials over repeatedly denying records requests from the Baraboo News Republic. The newspaper filed a lawsuit in 2017 seeking documents related to the death of a man on condemned land. 

"The Court finds that the (county) fails to understand that the release of records is the presumption," the Green Lake County judge wrote. 

Volunteers needed to judge New York newspaper contest

The WNA is looking for volunteers from member papers to judge the New York Press Association's 2018 Better Newspaper Contest. 

NYPA needs at least 50 WNA members to sign up by Jan. 11 to help judge their news, advertising, college and high school contests. Judges will receive assignments in late January and have approximately three weeks to complete judging. 

Report: Wisconsin tax burden falls to lowest level in decades

New research from the Wisconsin Policy Forum shows that the state's tax burden reached a nearly 50-year low in 2018, with state and local taxes accounting for 10.5 percent of taxpayers’ personal income.

The decreasing tax burden is due in large part to rising incomes, low unemployment and state-imposed property tax limits and cuts. 

WCIJ chosen for Solutions Journalism Network grant

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism was one of 10 newsrooms chosen by the Solutions Journalism Network to receive a grant in the second round of its Renewing Democracy initiative.

WCIJ will use its grant to report about the impact of NextGen, a multimillion-dollar initiative to increase the youth vote. The Center’s reporting will look at turnout in targeted precincts and whether NextGen’s strategies could be replicated nationally.

Nelson Poynter’s widow sues Times Publishing Co.

A trust controlled by the widow of Poynter Institute founder Nelson Poynter is suing Times Publishing Co., which owns the Tampa Bay Times, alleging it owes $7.8 million after defaulting on a loan. The newspaper suspended monthly payments in May, citing newsprint price increases.

In 1978, former Times owner Nelson Poynter left the majority of the newspaper's stock to the Institute in an effort to preserve its independence.

Daily Citizen launches new weekend edition

The (Beaver Dam) Daily Citizen has launched a new "weekend edition."

Todd Krysiak, regional editor for Capital Newspapers, detailed the changes in Saturday's paper, noting the new format will prominently feature investigative and enterprise reporting. It also includes new home and health sections and an expanded sports section.

>> Read more
Among Friends
Jim Dorrance, general manager of The (Rice Lake) Chronotype, is retiring Friday after more than 34 years at the newspaper, he announced in a column last week. 

Dorrance started at the newspaper in 1982 and has since "done almost everything" at The Chronotype, which his family owned until selling to Adams Publishing Group in 2014.

Bob Dorrance, his brother, will take over as general manager after Jim retires.
Ryan Spoehr is leaving his position as editor of the (Neillsville) Clark County Press to move to another newspaper within News Publishing Company. 

Next month, Spoehr will join the reporting staff at the (Black River Falls) Banner Journal, he recently announced in a farewell column.

He previously served as a reporter for the Banner Journal immediately after college. 
Upon Spoehr's departure, Valorie Brecht will take over as editor of the Clark County Press. 

Brecht previously served as a reporter for the newspaper for the last six months. A native of Loyal, Wis., she graduated in May from Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minn.

Kyle VonRuden, a Black River Falls resident who graduated in 2012 from UW-Oshkosh with a double major in political science and English, will fill Brecht's reporting position. 
Paul Arentz has returned to the industry after 11 years to become the next editor of the Hillsboro Sentry-Enterprise, the newspaper announced last week.

Arentz previously worked for the (Black River Falls) Hocak Worak, where he was hired as advertising manager in 1999. Within two years, he worked his way up to editor of the tribal newspaper. 

Arentz is preceded by Tim Evans. 
Tim Evans, general manager of the Monroe County Herald and editor of the Sentry-Enterprise, will leave the papers at the end of the month to manage a group of weekly newspapers in Carlinville, Ill.

Tim came to Sparta nearly two years ago when his brother, Greg Evans, bought and merged the Sparta Herald and the Monroe County Democrat into the Monroe County Herald. When Greg bought and merged the two Hillsboro weeklies earlier this year, Tim was appointed editor.

Evans previously served as general manager of News-Gazette Community Newspapers.
Steve Jagler, business editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is leaving the newspaper to become corporate communications director of Graef, an engineering, planning and design firm in Milwaukee.

Jagler joined the Journal Sentinel in 2015 after spending the previous 13 years leading BizTimes Milwaukee. He also previously served as managing editor of the Milwaukee Business Journal. He has won regional and national journalism awards and is a past president of the Milwaukee Press Club.
Robert Toerpe, who owned and managed the Washington Island Observer for 20 years, died Friday, Dec. 14. He was 85.

Born Feb. 2, 1933, in Chicago, Toerpe enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after high school and served during the Korean War. He worked in the insurance industry for the next 43 years before retiring in 1998.

Toerpe bought the Observer in 1992 and managed the newspaper for 20 years with his wife, Gail.
Jan. 8
Milwaukee Press Club to honor Crocker Stephenson
Newsroom Pub, Milwaukee

Jan. 10
Webinar: Make classifieds a key revenue builder again
Janet DeGeorge, Classified Executive Training & Consulting

Dec. 13
Webinar: Newsroom safety and security
Jean Hodges, Gatehouse Newsroom
see all events
The WNA Careers Page is a great resource for employers & job seekers. Recent job postings include: 
Enterprise reporter/photographer/social media pro
Digital journalist
Director of Printing & Packages Operations
Assistant Editor/Editor Trainee
Administrative Assistant
see all jobs
The Weekly Briefing is published Thursdays by the staff of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

Created by and for Wisconsin’s newspapers, WNA exists to strengthen the newspaper industry, enhance public understanding of the role of newspapers, and protect basic freedoms of press, speech and the free flow of information.

Have news you want to share in The Weekly Briefing? Contact the WNA at 608-283-7621 or
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