Weekly Briefing | July 5, 2018
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Global moment of silence to honor Capital Gazette victims

Newsrooms across the globe will observe a moment of silence at 1:33 p.m. (CDT) today to honor the victims of last week's shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md.

It’s exactly one week after a gunman entered the Capital Gazette newsroom and opened fire, killing five: Editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; assistant editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59; sportswriter John McNamara, 56; Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant hired in November; and Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent in charge of special publications.

Eagle River Memorial Pylon ceremony to honor 13 newspaper leaders

The WNA Foundation will honor 12 industry leaders during this year's Memorial Pylon ceremony Aug. 17 in Eagle River, Wis.

They are Russell H. Steel, The Forest Republican; Clifton and Shirley Sager, The (Cedar Grove) Villager; Audrey Reichert Lyke, The Ripon Commonwealth Press; James Brayer, (Madison) Agri-View; Helen V. Everson, The Edgerton Reporter; Mollyann G. Emerson, the Deforest Times-Tribune; Jerald Dennis Losness, the Cornell Courier; Bernadette Ann Friedell, the (Shell Lake) Washburn County Register; Dolores Ninneman, the Campbellsport News; Janet Flaherty, The Milton Courier; Donald Griswold, the West Salem Journal; and Patrick Shawn Korten, the Badger Herald.

Wisconsin publisher to testify during newsprint tariff hearing

Andrew Johnson, publisher of the Wisconsin Free Press Group and president of the WNA Foundation, will testify July 17 during the International Trade Commission's hearing on proposed newsprint tariffs.

He is one of two individuals who will testify in opposition to the tariffs, according to National Newspaper Association Public Policy Director Tonda Rush. The other is Paul Tash, chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times and Times Publishing Company. The Wisconsin Free Press Group includes the Campbellsport News, the (Mayville) Dodge County Pionier and the Kewaskum Statesman

Coalition to Repeal Personal Property Tax needs your input

Efforts last year by the Coalition to Repeal Wisconsin's Personal Property Tax, of which the WNA is a member, resulted in the elimination of personal property taxes on non-manufacturing equipment, saving Wisconsin businesses $75 million. The coalition now plans to push for full repeal of the personal property tax, and includes confusion surrounding the most recent exemptions among its concerns.

The state didn't provide guidance on the new exemption to assessors, causing a disconnect that has forced businesses and municipalities to play a game of political chicken. In an effort to provide feedback to lawmakers, the Coalition is asking businesses to complete a brief survey.

Watertown Daily Times reaches agreement to sell building

The Watertown Daily Times has reached an agreement with the Watertown Redevelopment Authority on the sale of the Times property as part of the authority's downtown redevelopment plans. 

"We are elated to be able to come to an agreement for the RDA to acquire our property and keep the downtown redevelopment plans moving forward," said Kevin Clifford, editor and publisher of the Times.

The Times property, where the newspaper has operated from for more than a century, encompasses several buildings targeted for redevelopment into a commons area and a potential hotel. Clifford said the newspaper is considering options for its new location and expects to have a decision in the near future.
11 outside-of-the-box enterprise reporting ideas

In his most recent installment of "Better Writing with Bart," Bart Pfankuch, a Wisconsin native who has spent 30 years as a reporter, editor and writing coach, discusses the mystical form of reporting that seems to be what every hiring editor wants to see from candidates — enterprise. Pfankuch lists 11 types of stories that go beyond the obvious and encourage reporters to do the same. 

Companies must let customers cancel subscriptions online, California law says

A California law that went into effect July 1 requires businesses that accept automatic renewals or continuous service offers online to allow customers to cancel their subscriptions online. Although it's just a California law, it also applies to any publisher or company with paying customers living in California. 

Sentinel Publications purchases Baldwin Bulletin

Sentinel Publications on June 27 purchased the Baldwin Bulletin, the newspaper announced. Sentinel Publications, which is owned by Carter Johnson, also includes the Amery Free Press, the Osceola Sun, the (Grantsburg) Burnett County Sentinel and the (Minn.) Country Messenger. Tom Stangl, who serves as group publisher for Sentinel Publications, has been named publisher of the Baldwin Bulletin.

The 144-year-old Bulletin has been in the Hawley family since 1892, when Orestus Kent purchased the newspaper. Most recently, Tom and Peter Hawley owned and operated the paper. 

UW-Milwaukee journalism alum honored with memorial scholarship

Eric Miller, a UW-Milwaukee alum who was passionate about journalism, photojournalism, video editing and use of technology for journalistic storytelling, died in December, 2016 at the age of 32. Family, classmates and friends have established a scholarship in his honor to celebrate his life’s work.
Among Friends
After 13 years, more than 800 columns and the "Beer Man Wisconsin" book, Todd Haefer's Beer Man column for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin is coming to an end

The column spanned a time of enormous growth in the craft beer industry — from 1,394 breweries and brewpubs in 2005 to 6,266 as of 2017. Haefer plans to start a website in the coming months that will focus on beer reviews, he announced in his farewell column
John Frank Sikora, who worked for the DeForest Times-Tribune after retiring from a 26-year career as a copy editor for the state Department of Health and Human Services, died Monday, July 2. He was 86. 

Sikora earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois before exploring several career options, including working for the Catholic New World newspaper. He retired from the Department of Health and Human Services in 1996.
Clyde Mitchel "Mitch" Sneed, former city editor of the Kenosha News, died Sunday, July 1, following a car crash in Alexander City, Ala. He was 57.

Sneed, who also worked at newspapers in Georgia, Virginia, Alabama and Indiana, was editor of The (Alexander City) Outlook. Sneed won numerous awards during his career, including 12 Alabama Press Association awards that will be presented later this month at the state's newspaper convention. His editorial team was credited as the major reason The Outlook was named one of the "10 Newspapers That Do It Right" in 2018 by Editor & Publisher magazine. 
Walter Lewis Shear, who worked at his family's newspaper, the (Hillsboro) Sentry-Enterprise, died Saturday, June 16. He was 85.

Shear graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1950 and was constantly involved in the family newspaper business, working alongside his grandfather, W.O. Shear, founder and publisher of the Sentry-Enterprise, and his father, Edwin Shear, editor and former publisher of the newspaper. He eventually went on to become a literature professor and retired from Pittsburg State University in Kansas.
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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