Weekly Briefing | June 28, 2018
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Teamsters urge Commerce Department to reject newsprint tariffs

The Teamsters Union, which has expressed support of President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, is urging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reconsider proposed tariffs on newsprint. Teamsters is one of the country’s most powerful labor unions, representing 1.2 million workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico — 30,000 of which work in the printing and publishing industry. Final determinations are expected in August by the International Trade Commission, following a July 17 hearing, and in September by the Commerce Department.

Wisconsin Supreme Court considering limits to court records 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court appears to be considering limits to court records, but justices have yet to provide a clear explanation.

The deliberations surfaced after conservative radio talk show host Mark Belling filed an open records request for email addresses of everyone who uses the domain address State courts director Randy Koschnick responded that the Supreme Court was considering whether the state court system was subject to the open records law, Belling wrote in a recent Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council "Your Right to Know" column. 

The response prompted the FOIC, of which the WNA is a member, to write a letter to the state Supreme Court requesting additional information and urging justices to consider public input. The Council has yet to receive a response, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday reported that court spokesman Tom Sheehan said the only item under consideration is whether email addresses for judges and justices should be released, citing a "substantial risk" of direct communication from the public that would disrupt the judicial process.
Sign petition, publish ads opposing tariffs

On July 17, the International Trade Commission will hear testimony on preliminary newsprint tariffs that threaten more than 600,000 jobs across the country. Here are some ways you can help fight the proposed tariffs: 

Sign the petition opposing newsprint tariffs. The citizen and employee petition generated by the STOPP Coalition will be sent to the ITC around the July 17 hearing.

Run ads opposing the tariffs. News Media Alliance and the STOPP Coalition have provided ads for newspapers to run in their print publications and on their websites. The ads aim to educate readers on the negative consequences of the recent tariffs and encourage them to sign STOPP's petition opposing the tariffs. Sample social media posts are also provided.
WNA members are encouraged to run the ads, which can be customized with your newspaper's logo and contact information, in print and online.

How the Journal Sentinel grew its Facebook reach 6x in a year

When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel developed a social media schedule a year and a half ago, the newspaper's Facebook page had just 62,000 likes. Now it has more than 140,000. They also saw a growth in reach from around 500,000 to 3 million.

The schedule was part of a social strategy the newspaper developed to reach new audiences. It also included creating content for a social audience, adapting to Facebook's changes, and giving social a visible and vocal presence in the newsroom. Journal Sentinel social media editor Emily Ristow recently detailed the newspaper's approach for Better News, a project of the American Press Institute and the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative.

Adams Publishing Group acquires Florida-based Sun Coast Media

Adams Publishing Group announced June 18 that it is purchasing Sun Coast Media Group, based in Venice, Fla. Sun Coast Media Group newspapers to be included in the sale are The Venice Gondolier, The Arcadian, The West Villages Sun, The Englewood Sun, The North Port Sun, The Charlotte Sun and The Charlotte Sun Times. This will be APG’s first newspaper acquisition in Florida. APG owns eight Wisconsin-based newspapers, including the Leader-Telegram and The Country Today (both based in Eau Claire), which were acquired in June 2017.
Journal Times launches online archives

The (Racine) Journal Times has uploaded more than 1 million pages spanning 176 years to an online newspaper archive. The pages are accessible through the, an online archive that houses pages from newspapers across the globe, including 177 current and former Wisconsin titles.

The Journal Times pages also include the catalogs of six defunct papers dating back to the mid-20th century, including The Racine Advocate and Racine Journal, both of which informed locals about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the hunt for his mustachioed killer in spring 1865.

Lee Enterprises to manage Berkshire Hathaway newspapers

Warren Buffett 's company has hired Lee Enterprises to manage the mostly smaller newspapers it has acquired since 2011 in 30 different markets. Lee said Tuesday it expects to collect $50 million in fees from the five-year agreement that should help BH Media Group's newspapers reduce costs. Lee owns seven newspapers in Wisconsin, including the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal.

Monroe Times shifts from daily to bi-weekly publication

The Monroe Times on Wednesday moved from daily to bi-weekly publication. The newspaper will now print on Wednesdays and Saturdays and will also soon unveil a new, updated website that will boost the newspaper's online presence. A story announcing the changes included details about decreased subscription prices, increased single-copy prices, deadline shifts and content changes.

Newsmaker luncheon to feature Milwaukee's new police chief

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales will be the featured speaker at a Newsmaker Luncheon hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics on July 19 in Milwaukee.

Morales, who was appointed in April to the position after former Chief Edward Flynn retired, will take questions from a panel of journalists, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Ashley Luthern.

Unified Newspaper Group's Courier Hub to close Stoughton office

The Stoughton Courier Hub has announced it will close its Stoughton office by June 30, but plans to maintain its presence in the community. Unified Newspaper Group, which owns the newspaper, said the closure is related to industry changes over the past several years. The company also said there has been a decline in the use of the office by staff, as well as in-person traffic.

"A brick-and-mortar office in Stoughton is no longer the most meaningful way to connect with our readers and advertisers," UNG general manager Lee Borkowski said. "This decision was made to ensure we'll keep a presence in Stoughton for many years to come."
Among Friends
Molly Beck, former Capitol and education reporter for the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal, has joined the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a state government and politics reporter.

Before joining the State Journal in 2013, Beck worked for The State Journal-Register in Springlfield, Ill., and the Owatonna (Minn.) People's Press.
Ryan Spoehr, a Lake Mills native who previously worked as a reporter for News Publishing Company, has returned to the company as an editor and reporter for the (Neillsville) Clark County Press

Spoehr previously worked at the (Black River Falls) Banner Journal, the Lake Mills Leader and his college newspaper, The (Madison College) Clarion. He was preceded by editor Scott Schultz. 
Valorie Brecht, a Loyal native who interned last summer at the Clark County Press, has accepted a reporter position with the newspaper.

Brecht recently graduated from Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minn., where she served as one of the editors for the E-Rivulet, the college's online literary journal. She received bachelors degrees in English and music.
Sonya Westfall, a 2018 graduate of UW-Madison, has been appointed the summer intern at the Vilas County News-Review.

Westfall, who earned her bachelor of science degree in communication arts, will take photographs and write stories for the newspaper and its upcoming special 12-week publication, "Vacation Week," and its special section, "Salute to Emergency Personnel."
Julia Connor Wickland, who taught journalism at UW-Platteville, died Monday, June 25. She was 72. 

Wickland graduated from UW-Platteville in 1967 with majors/minors in education, journalism and history. She taught high school English in Reedsburg for two years before joining the faculty at UW-Platteville in 1969. While teaching journalism there, she worked on and received her Master of Arts in Journalism from UW-Madison.
Charity Huff, Maroon Ventures
Ryan Dohrn,  Brain Swell Media
Summer Moore, Gatehouse Media
The WNA Careers Page is a great resource for employers & job seekers. Recent job postings include: 
Director of Operations, The Journal Times
Group Publisher, Woodward Community Media
General Assignment Reporter, Watertown Daily Times
Program Assistant, Wisconsin Newspaper Association

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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