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Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Weekly Briefing

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Disaster by water

A City of Burlington police officer talks on his phone while monitoring the river level at Bridge Street on July 12. Burlington was inundated with 8 inches of rain in a 12-hour period last week, which caused record flooding in the community. This photo by Ed Nadolski appeared on Page 3 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

Demystifying local government data

Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance Communications Director David Callender explains how local governmental bodies are structured in Wisconsin today during a Wisconsin Newspaper Association reporting workshop in Madison.

Callender, a former journalist, presented with WisTax Research Director Dale Knapp (right) and WisTax President Todd Berry.  Additional discussion topics included demystifying government budgets, reporting on tax assessment issues, analyzing misleading data and covering school districts from a financial perspective. 

– Photo by James Debilzen
Have you reserved your hotel room for the Trees Retreat? Deadline is Sunday

Time is running out to reserve a hotel room at a reduced rate for the 70th Annual WNA Trees Retreat, being held Aug. 24-25 in Eagle River.

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 23. Dormitory-style lodging is also available on the Trees For Tomorrow campus for $50 per night.

This year's speaker is Al Cross, director of the Institute on Rural Journalism, which helps non-metropolitan journalists define the public agenda for their communities and grasp the local impact of broader issues.

Cross is also an extension professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, where the Institute is based. Prior to becoming director of the institute in 2004, Cross edited and managed weekly newspapers before spending 26 years at The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.

See the full schedule for more details and register online. (And don't forget to book your hotel room by July 24!)
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 also 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. During the workshop, Cross will discuss the rural-urban divide & the role of newspapers, reporting beyond the county line and new challenges in community journalism.

Learn More About the 70th Annual Trees Retreat
Register for the Trees Retreat
Wis. DOJ posting information about public records requests online

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is making public the open records requests the agency receives. 

DOJ recently added two features to the website for its Office of Open Government: a link to its internal operating procedures for records requests, and a link to a "snapshot" of requests currently being fulfilled. 

The "snapshot," updated weekly, notes the name of the requester, the date the request was received, the staff assigned to it and the information being requested. 

Read more ...

N.C. governor vetoes bill targeting legal notice publication requirements

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a hotly contested bill Monday that aims to take the business of publishing legal notices away from newspapers.

Cooper spoke out forcefully against the measure that would allow one county to serve as a test case for letting local governments post such ads on their own websites instead of printing them in privately-owned publications that circulate in their jurisdictions.

Read more ...

Volunteer to help pick a national 'Teacher of the Year' representative

The WNA is seeking a volunteer to help select a representative for the national "Teacher of the Year" program.

Each fall, a committee of educators, parents and community leaders (including the WNA) interviews the state's four "Teachers of the Year" to determine which one will represent Wisconsin in the national program.

The volunteer needs to be available to attend the interviews on Aug. 24 in Madison. Travel, meal and lodging expenses will be covered.

If interested in participating in the selection process, please contact WNA Executive Director Beth Bennett at 608-283-7620 or

WBA invites WNA members to attend photojournalism workshop

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is inviting WNA members to participate in its upcoming Madison Driving Short Course, a visual storytelling workshop being held in partnership with the National Press Photographer's Association.

The Madison Driving Short Course will be held Aug. 18-19 at the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. WNA members can register for a reduced rate of $50.

Read more and register ...

Taste beer, talk beer with the State Journal's 'Beer Baron'

Join Vintage Brewing Company brewmaster Scott Manning and Wisconsin State Journal beer writer Chris Drosner (aka the Beer Baron) on Wednesday, July 26, for an exclusive beer tasting and discussion to benefit the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The event at Vintage Brewing Company, 674 S. Whitney Way in Madison, includes a social hour at 6 p.m., with the program to begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost $30 and include five 4-ounce Vintage beers for tasting on site, a 32-ounce Vintage Crowler to-go, palate-cleansing snacks, and an opportunity to talk to Manning and Drosner about beer making and writing about beer. SPJ members will also receive a special beer tasting glass.

Registration is limited to the first 50 people and is expected to sell out. Tickets are required.

Register Online
Weinschenk wins record third 'Golden Quill' award

The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors presented Peter Weinschenk, editor of The Record-Review in Edgar, with its 2017 Golden Quill award for an editorial, “We Can’t Look Away,” at a banquet held July 1 at the University of Maryland.

This is the third time Weinschenk has been awarded the Golden Quill, which is a record in the 56-year history of ISWNE’s editorial writing contest

This year, the organization received 115 Golden Quill entries from weekly newspapers around the globe. Contest judge was Mary Kimm, publisher and editor of Connection Newspapers, a group of 15 weeklies in suburban Washington, D.C. Weinschenk also won Golden Quill awards in 2011 and 2013.

Read more ...

Rajnicek named managing editor at DeForest Times-Tribune

The DeForest Times-Tribune welcomed managing editor Hannah Rajnicek to its staff on July 13.

Before coming to the Times-Tribune, Rajnicek served as the reporter at the Lodi Enterprise/Poynette Press, where she covered a wide range of topics, including local government, sports, events and two school districts.

Rajnicek grew up in Vernon, Wis., before heading off to Chicago to pursue her journalism degree at Columbia College Chicago. She interned at WISN 12 News, a television station in Milwaukee.

Read more ...

Broege takes helm at Brodhead Independent Register

Janesville native Ryan Broege has been named the editor of the Brodhead Independent Register. He's a 2012 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he was active with the student newspaper, the Exponent, as a reporter and news editor.

Broege previously interned at The Gazette in Janesville and was a reporter at the Independent Register prior to being named the editor.

Read more ...

Ellison joins Fond du Lac Reporter

Jillian Ellison, a former education reporter for the Journal and Courier, in Lafayette, Ind., has joined the Fond du Lac Reporter news team.

Ellison graduated from Purdue University, where she served as a reporter and assistant features editor for the Purdue Exponent. She graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Professional Writing. She joined the Journal and Courier while still at school, and was later promoted to reporter. 

She succeeds Madeline Zukowski, who left The Reporter in May, for a position with the Catholic Herald in Milwaukee. 

Read more ...

Casper transitions to city editor in Winona

Winona (Minn.) Daily News Sports Editor John Casper, a Dousman, Wis., native, has been named the newspaper's city editor, helping lead the paper’s coverage of breaking news and community events. 

Casper came to the Daily News in 2012 as a sports reporter after nine years covering sports at several Wisconsin newspapers. He was named sports editor in 2014.

Read more ...

Felicia Thomas-Lynn

Felicia Thomas-Lynn, a 25 year journalism veteran of the newspaper industry, died July 10 at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

Thomas-Lynn worked as an education reporter, city hall reporter, urban affairs writer and a columnist. She began her newspaper career in Greenville, S.C., in 1990 as the education reporter for The Greenville Piedmont and then became the city hall and urban affairs reporter. Her widely read Milwaukee Journal Sentinel column, "Faces of Hope," focused on the lives of everyday people who were able to overcome their circumstances with the help of non-profit organizations willing to lend a helping hand.

She received local, state and national honors for her work, including a national first place short feature writing award from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors and a first place enterprise reporting award from the South Carolina Press Association. Thomas-Lynn was also honored by the Milwaukee Press Club and was a recipient of a Black Excellence Media Award sponsored by the Milwaukee Times.

Thomas-Lynn served as a long-time adjunct professor in the College of Communication at Marquette University, where she taught News Writing and Reporting, as well as Public Affairs. She also served as a lecturer in the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was a member and past president of the Milwaukee Press Club, as well as a member and past president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association. She was also a founding member of the South Carolina Upstate Association of Black Journalists in Greenville and served as its president. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the Cream City Chapter of The Links, Inc. and the Milwaukee Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

A memorial service was held July 15 in Wauwatosa.

Read the obituary ...
Read James E. Causey's column about Thomas-Lynn ...

Don Lindstrom

Don Lindstrom, former high school and University of Wisconsin sports writer and columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal, died on July 13 in Madison.

Lindstrom earned a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska in 1950. His newspaper career covered 43 years, including as a sports editor of the Holdrege (Neb.) Daily Citizen, then as a sports writer for the Wisconsin Daily Tribune, and a 29 year career at the Wisconsin State Journal. A highlight of his career was his assignment to cover the Lake Placid Olympics.

He was honored with selections to the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame in cross country in 1995, basketball in 2001, and football in 2002. He received an additional award from the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He was also a member of the Baseball Writers of America, earned Wisconsin sports writer of the year nominations, American Legion baseball coach of the year, and served as the ninth president of the Madison Sports Hall of Fame.

A memorial will be planned at a future date.

Read the obituary ...

Robert W. Joslyn

Robert (Bob) W. Joslyn, of Cascade, former managing editor of the Sheboygan Press, died July 9 in Sheboygan.

Joslyn graduated from Plymouth High School in 1961 and attended UW-Milwaukee before graduating from UW-Madison with a B.S. Degree in Journalism.

Joslyn began his journalism career at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. Bob stayed there for several years, eventually taking a position at the Sheboygan Press, where he worked over 30 years before retiring as the managing editor in 2002.

A celebration of life was held Saturday in Plymouth.

Read the obituary ...

Into the Issues: Journalists addressing ‘fake news’ challenges

In a challenging environment with fewer resources, greater vulnerabilities and increasing attacks from politicians and the politically motivated, how should news organizations respond? Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, breaks down the ideas presented by a Washington editor and publisher who defends journalism and its essential role in democracy.

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 24
Less competition, but options still available in state health care marketplace

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 24
Tour Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture in Wisconsin | Download 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 24
Equalized values are how counties, schools divide taxes between communities
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 July 20
U.S. Healthcare Ranked Lower Than In Most Developed Nations


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.

Effective Prospecting: Five Steps to More Conversions – Friday, July 28 | 1-2 p.m. Register

Five Ways to Use Facebook Live (Plus a How-To) – Thursday, Aug. 17 | 1-2 p.m. Register

Automatic InDesign – Thursday, Aug. 24 | 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

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:
    • Editor/Writer – The Courier Wedge, Durand
    • Reporter/Editor – Portage County Gazette, Stevens Point
    • Business Reporter – Wisconsin State Journal
    • Sales Representative – Baldwin Bulletin
    • Sections Editor – The Gazette, Janesville
    • News Reporter – The Le Mars (Iowa) Daily Sentinel
    • Sports Reporter/Assistant Editor – Daily Jefferson County Union, Fort Atkinson
    • City Editor – Kenosha News
    • Community Reporter/Page Designer/Photographer – Unified Newspaper Group
    • Reporter – Monroe County Herald
    • 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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