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Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Weekly Briefing

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Romo returns

Burlington High School 1998 graduate Tony Romo hugs his son Hawkins, 5, during a touchdown catch drill June 21. Romo, who recently retired from the NFL after 14 seasons, returned to Burlington for his 14th annual Tony Romo Football Camp June 21 and 22. This photo by Mike Ramczyk appeared on the front page of Thursday's Burlington Standard Press.

The WNA features work produced by Wisconsin's photojournalists in each issue of the Weekly Briefing. Have a photo you'd like to share? Email the photo, credit and cutline information to
Supreme Court favors openness in Appleton schools case

BY JAMES DEBILZEN | Communications Director

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association and other advocates for government transparency praised a unanimous Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that found the state’s open meetings law applies to committees that take action on behalf of governmental entities.

The court ruled in John Krueger v. Appleton Area School District Board of Directors that a committee of school staff members violated the open meetings law by holding meetings that were closed to the public while evaluating and revising course materials.

The ruling, written by Justice Michael Gableman, said the way the committee was formed and the committee’s structure met the definition of a “governmental body.”

“Where a governmental entity adopts a rule authorizing the formation of committees and conferring on them the power to take collective action, such committees are ‘created by … rule’ under (State Statute) 19.82(1) and the open meetings law applies to them,” Gableman wrote.

An amicus curiae brief was filed with the court by attorney April Rockstead Barker on behalf of the WNA, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. The three organizations maintained the committee involved in the case should have been subject to the state open meetings law.

“This is a major victory for transparency in local government,” said Beth Bennett, executive director of the WNA. “The ruling confirms that local governmental entities in the state cannot circumvent the open meetings law by delegating decision-making authority to unaccountable committees.”

The case originated from the work of a staff-appointed committee of 17 teachers, administrators and staffers in the School District of Appleton beginning in the fall of 2011, which was tasked with reviewing potential works of fiction to be included in a ninth-grade reading curriculum. The review was prompted by complaints from Krueger, the parent of an Appleton school district student, who was concerned about profanity, obscenities and sexual content in the reading materials for a communications class.

The committee met privately nine times during the next six months, narrowing a list of more than 90 book titles to 23 titles, which were then recommended to the school board for approval.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) – representing Krueger – filed a verified complaint alleging the committee violated the open meetings law. Charges were not filed within 20 days of the complaint, which prompted WILL to file the lawsuit on July 29, 2013.

The Outagamie Circuit Court ruled in favor of the school district and the decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals on June 28, 2016. The Supreme Court’s ruling reverses the lower courts’ decision. The case will return to Outagamie Circuit Court to determine whether the school district must pay Krueger’s legal fees.

“The critical thing about today’s decision is that it affirms Wisconsin’s open meetings law is to be construed and applied liberally,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel for WILL, in a press release. “The school district here strained to find reasons not to follow the law. Today, the court made clear the presumption is to be in favor of transparency.”

Read the Supreme Court opinion ...

Registration is open for Trees 2017

The schedule has been announced for the 70th Annual WNA Trees Retreat, and registration is now open.
Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism, will present Friday's workshop, during which he'll discuss the rural-urban divide & the role of newspapers, reporting beyond the county line and new challenges in community journalism.
The Trees Retreat will kick off Thursday, Aug. 24, with a golf outing fundraiser at Eagle River Golf Course, with proceeds benefiting the WNA Foundation. This year will mark the return to the tradition of gathering at Eddie B’s White Spruce Inn for dinner Thursday night, before returning to campus for socializing around the fire.  Cross’ workshop and the Memorial Pylon Ceremony will fill the day Friday, Aug. 25, before attendees head the WNA-owned Press Forest for a steak fry under the pines.
The WNA has a block of rooms at the Best Western Derby Inn. Rates are $80 on Thursday, Aug. 24, and $99 on Friday, Aug. 25. Call 715-479-1600 and ask for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association block by July 24. Dormitory-style lodging is also available on the Trees For Tomorrow campus for $50/night.

Learn More About the 70th Annual Trees Retreat
Register for the Trees Retreat
Register for local government reporting workshop by July 13

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation has partnered with the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance to present a one-day reporting seminar aimed at helping journalists better navigate local government data and documents.

The workshop, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 20 in Madison, will include discussion on a wide variety of governmental bodies, including counties, cities, villages, towns, school districts and technical colleges. Learn how to untangle this often confusing web and get tips on how to break it down for your readers.

The sessions include:

  • Untangling Local Government
  • Math for Journalists
  • Understanding Budgets: How to Not Get Snookered by the Numbers
  • The State Budget and Your Community

Registration is $75 and the deadline to register is July 13.

See the Schedule and Speakers
Register Online
Time is running out to register for public notice training in Stevens Point

WNA offering webinar option

The WNA will hold a public notice training workshop on July 13 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point. Registration will open at 11:30 a.m. with lunch and training to begin at noon. The cost is $25 per attendee.

The deadline to register for this event is July 7. On-site

The WNA urges you to consider sending someone from your staff to Stevens Point for this discussion. The afternoon-long session will provide important information on the legal requirements attached to publishing public notices, as well as suggestions on how you might better serve your public notice clients.

The WNA will also host a live webinar of the workshop for members who are unable to travel to Stevens Point. Registration for the webinar is also $25 per attendee.

The session will provide an overview of basic public notice principles as well as best practices.

During the workshop, we’ll review:

  • State-mandated pricing and typefaces for public notices
  • The annual application process for Department of Administration certification
  • Which government entities/private parties are required to publish public notices
  • How works and how to link directly to your newspaper's online public notice database
  • Sales/promotion suggestions for public notice advertising
  • Things to do to retain and even grow your public notice advertising revenue
  • Ask us anything! Open discussion period for all questions you may have

Register online or contact WNA Member Services Director Julia Hunter at 608-283-7622 or

Register Online
Related: How to link directly to your paper's public notices online

By simply adding a direct link to your public notices to your website, you can make your newspaper's public notices the first ones your readers see when they access

Download the WNA's list of links and locate your newspaper's custom link to make reviewing your public notices easy and fast for your readers with just one click. For more information, contact WNA Media Services Director Denise Guttery at 608-283-7630 or

More historical content added to Wisconsin's online newspaper archive

More than 100,000 pages of early newspapers from six Wisconsin communities can now be discovered in the Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers.

The Belleville Public Library, Black River Falls Public Library, Dwight Foster Public Library, Eager Free Library, Prairie du Chien Public Library and Stephenson Public Library worked together with BadgerLink, the Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) and the WNA to add the new content to the Archive.

Wisconsin residents can now access the following titles through BadgerLink:

  • Belleville Recorder, 1887-1923
  • Badger State Banner, 1868-1926
  • Banner Journal, 1931-1938
  • Evansville Badger, 1898-1906
  • Evansville Enterprise, 1895-1911
  • Evansville Review, 1899-1932
  • Evansville Tribune, 1899-1908
  • Jackson County Banner, 1867-1868
  • Jefferson County Union, 1870-1918
  • Prairie du Chien Courier Press, 1852-1922
  • Marinette and Peshtigo Eagle, 1871-1896

The new titles join the list of historical newspapers added to the Archive in 2016 thanks to an LSTA-funded pilot project. To explore the full collection, visit the Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers and click on "Search Historical Newspapers."

The Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers is an ongoing collaboration of WHS, WPLC, WNA and BadgerLink.

Tucker joins Lake Geneva Regional News

Andrew Tucker has joined the Lake Geneva Regional News as its new sports reporter.

Tucker is a Michigan native and graduated in May from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

"I'm looking forward to getting started and getting to know this community," he said in an introductory column.

Read more ...

Vilas County News-Review hires summer intern

Kailyn Hogenmiller, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has been appointed the summer intern at the Vilas County News-Review in Eagle River and The Three Lakes News.

With an associate degree in graphic design and currently earning her bachelor of fine arts degree, Hogenmiller is writing articles and taking photographs for local businesses featured in the newspaper’s summer publication, Vacation Week.

Hogenmiller will return to Stevens Point in the fall and begin her final year of college. She was born and raised in the Northwoods and would like to start her own graphic design business in the future. She is the daughter of Bill and Cheryl Hogenmiller of Conover. 

Read more ...

Barbara Colicki

Barbara Colicki, a former reporter and editor at the Kenosha News, died June 18 in Racine. She was 93.

Colicki was born in East Lansing, Mich., in 1924 and graduated from East Lansing High School. She worked for the Kenosha News for nearly 32 years, beginning her career as a reporter. She retired in 1995 as an area page editor.

Family and friends are invited for a gathering to honor Colicki's life on Friday, June 30 from 4-7 p.m. at the Fireside Restaurant, 2801 30th Ave., Kenosha. Private inurnment will take place at a later date.

Read the obituary ...

Your Right to Know: End lawmakers’ ability to destroy records 

In this month's Your Right to Know column, Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, writes about the ability of state lawmakers to selectively destroy public records because of an exemption from records retention rules. Lueders encourages the media and the public to ask legislators and candidates for the Legislature whether they support ending the exemption.

The column is being released early in advance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend and is available for immediate publication for free.

Download the column
Download Bill Lueders' photo

Ad-libs: Expectations are like icebergs

Advertising expert John Foust says it's important to bring an advertiser's hidden expectations to the surface and to have some control over those expectations.

When we meet – or exceed – advertisers’ expectations, they feel good about our product and want to run more ads. But when the ads let them down, they might move their ad dollars somewhere else.

Read more ...

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association has partnered with various organizations to provide free content to members. If you have questions regarding the content below, please contact WNA Communications Director James Debilzen at 608-283-7623.
The Capitol Report

The Capitol Report features news and analysis on statewide government and political issues in Wisconsin. The column is available for free publication by WNA-member newspapers only.

Column for the Week of July 3
Painstaking restoration recalled as Capitol marks 100 years

Thinking About Health

"Thinking About Health" by Trudy Lieberman is a twice-monthly column available to any WNA member newspaper. The column is distributed to 17 state newspaper associations through the "Rural Health News Service" and is funded in part by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund.

Column Released June 13
Patient-Centered Care Shouldn’t Be Just a Marketing Slogan

Discover Wisconsin

A weekly column written by the staff of Discover Wisconsin highlights things to do and see throughout the State of Wisconsin. The column is accompanied by photos for use in print and online. 

Column for the week of July 3
8 Ways to Enjoy Wisconsin’s AgTourism IndustryDownload Photos


Weekly facts from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the state's oldest and most respected private government research organization. Since 1932, WISTAX has been promoting better government and an informed citizenry through its publications, public outreach, and extensive school programs.

Column for the Week of July 3
Income Tax Credits Can Relieve Property Tax
ATTENTION WISCONSIN JOURNALISM STUDENTS AND ADVISERS: Is there an Online Media Campus webinar you’d like to take? The WNA Foundation will sponsor your registration! Contact Jana Shepherd at to register.

Data Viz: Using, Piktochart, Google Fusion,, Graphiq – Thursday, July 20 | 1-2 p.m. Register

Effective Prospecting: Five Steps to More Conversions – Friday, July 28 | 1-2 p.m. Register
As part of the WNA’s partnership with the Local Media Association, LMA offers special discounted rates on many benefits including webinars to our members. Webinars for association partner members are $29 each ($59 for non-members). See all LMA webinars at

Leveraging Facebook to Grow Your Email Database  Tuesday, July 11 | Noon to 12:30 p.m. Register

How to Create Irresistible Digital Headlines  Tuesday, July 11 | 1-1:30 p.m. Register

Google Is Making the News a Top Priority  Tuesday, July 11 | 2-2:30 p.m. Register

What You Need to Know About Selling Video and Mobile Advertising  Wednesday, July 12 | Noon to 12:30 p.m. Register

The True Art of Onboarding - When, How and Why  Wednesday, July 12 | 1-1:30 p.m. Register

How to Crank up the Sales Leads  Wednesday, July 12 | 2-2:30 p.m. Register

2017 Innovation Mission Top Takeaways  Thursday, July 13 | Noon to 12:30 p.m. Register

Engagement: Top 5 Audience Challenges  Thursday, July 13 | 1-1:30 p.m. Register

3 Pillars of Media Transformation: Events, Promotions and Marketing Services  Thursday, July 13 | 2-2:30 p.m. Register

Inside Look: The Secrets of Driving Digital Transformation  Thursday, July 27 | 2-2:30 p.m. Register

Why Buy Now?  Tuesday, Aug. 22 | 2-2:45 p.m. Register
  • FREE MEMBER CONTENT: Download the latest content from the Capitol Report, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Thinking About Health, Discover Wisconsin and WISTAX Facts.
  • CAREERS - BUY - SELL - TRADE: View the latest career opportunities, resumes and "for sale" listings. Available positions:
    • City Editor – Kenosha News
    • Assistant Editor – Agri-View
    • Community Reporter/Page Designer/Photographer – Unified Newspaper Group
    • Sports Editor – The Star, Sun Prairie/The Courier, Waterloo
    • Managing Editor – DeForest Times-Tribune
    • Editor – Lake Geneva Regional News
    • Paginator – Lake Geneva Regional News
    • Reporter – Monroe County Herald
    • Managing Editor – Lake Mills Leader
    • Circulation Manager – Kenosha News
    • FOR SALE: Small town community newspaper – The Marion Advertiser
    • FOR SALE: Printing equipment – Wisconsin Newspress, Plymouth 
    • FOR SALE: Weekly Newspaper – The Chilton Times Journal
  • SHARE YOUR NEWS: Staff changes, promotions, celebrations, milestones and success stories. We want to hear from you!
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 James Debilzen at 608-283-7623 or
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