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Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Weekly Briefing
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Digging in a winter wonderland

Residents in Northwest Wisconsin awoke Wednesday to the first significant snowfall of the season. The National Weather Service in Green Bay was calling for between 3 and 5 inches of snow by the time the winter weather advisory was lifted Wednesday evening. This photo by Jamie Taylor appeared on the front page of Thursday's Northwoods River News in Rhinelander.

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
Wisconsin publishers beginning in the mid-1960s sold Christmas trees that were harvested from the industry's Press Forest near Eagle River as a scholarship fundraiser. Pictured here, from left, loading trees into a truck at Trees For Tomorrow's original headquarters in Merrill are Ed Sorum, Cottage Grove, a Neuendorf Transportation driver; Carl Zielke, manager of the Wisconsin Press Association; Roy Rollins of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association; and Mully Taylor and Bill Sylvester of Trees For Tomorrow. – Courtesy of the Poynette Press
Remember When: Publishers grew, sold Christmas trees for scholarships

Beginning in the mid-1960s, Wisconsin publishers began a unique tradition in an effort to raise money for journalism students — they started growing Christmas trees.

Proceeds from the harvests funded annual scholarships to Wisconsin journalism students who planned on careers in community journalism. To bring attention to the scholarship and forestry education, publishers occasionally sold the "scholarship trees" for $15 to mayors, civic leaders and organizations in their hometowns. With the help of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, the trees were transported from the industry-owned forest outside of Eagle River, where they were harvested, to new homes across the state.

The tradition was featured this week in the Poynette Press, along with a photo of Carl Zielke, then-manager of the Wisconsin Press Association (a forerunner to the WNA), and others loading trees into the back of a truck in 1967 at the original Trees For Tomorrow headquarters in Merrill.

Trees were first cut from the Press Forest in 1960, just a couple of years after the WPA purchased the 78 acres of abandoned farmland. A new program of shearing and shaping the balsam firs began in the mid-60s, and the scholarship fund was conceived.

During the first 15 years of the program, more than 40 scholarships were awarded.

What is the Press Forest?

The Press Forest’s origins date to 1956 during a WPA outing at Trees For Tomorrow. During the outing, members voted to buy a tract of nearby farm land and transform it into an outdoor study area for teachers, students and others to learn about nature and ecology.

In 1958, after collecting donations from members, the WPA purchased the land, located four miles south of Eagle River, for $1,500. The property was viewed as an opportunity to illustrate how land not suited to traditional agriculture can be used to grow trees as a crop.

More than 30,000 red pines were planted on the land during a five-year period beginning in 1959. The red pines were planted by machine and by hand by student campers from Trees For Tomorrow. Other species of trees and several improvements have been introduced to the forest in the years since then, including the addition of a small manmade lake, a boardwalk and a picnic shelter. The forest continues to be in active use by Trees For Tomorrow as an outdoor classroom.

The WNA continues to hold annual outings each fall at Trees For Tomorrow, which manages the Press Forest. The two-day retreat features training opportunities, a memorial ceremony honoring deceased publishers, networking opportunities and a steak fry in the Press Forest.

Still time to add a new ornament to your tree while supporting the WNAF

Give the WNA Foundation a boost this holiday season and we'll send you a newspaper-themed ornament as a token of our appreciation.

The WNA Foundation is continuing its Giving Tree Fundraiser until Dec. 31 — or until our virtual tree is empty. Your donation to the WNA Foundation helps fund educational initiatives, student journalism programs, fellowships and more.

Learn more about the Giving Tree and other ways to help the WNA Foundation

Drop by SPJ-Madison's holiday party tonight and support student publications

The Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, in conjunction with the Capitol press corps, will hold its annual holiday party and raffle from 6-9 p.m. tonight (Dec. 14). Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Daily Cardinal and the Badger Herald, the two student newspapers at UW-Madison. All area journalists and journalism supporters are encouraged to attend the free event, held at the Argus Bar, 123 E. Main St. in Madison. Please bring a dish to pass.

Read more

Deadlines coming up fast for high school, college contests

Deadlines are approaching for young journalists at high school and college newspapers to submit entries for the Wisconsin College Media Association (WCMA) and WNA Foundation High School Better Newspaper Contests.

The deadlines for the scholastic contests are:

  • WCMA Better Newspaper Contest: 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18
  • High School Better Newspaper Contest: 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22
Don't forget: As part of the WCMA Better Newspaper Contest, the WNA has partnered with the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to recognize student journalists who promote knowledge of the First Amendment through news and editorial writing in the John Patrick Hunter First Amendment Contest. A $250 award will be split between two winners – one for news writing and one for editorial writing.

Visit College Contest Site and Download Rules
Visit High School Contest Site and Download Rules
Member question: Have you digitized microfilm?

A member of the WNA is looking at options to digitize microfilm copies of their newspaper, but would like to hear input from others who have gone through the process. If you have recommendations or can offer expertise, please email
WNA directory updates due Dec. 22

The WNA emailed leaders at full business member newspapers last week seeking assistance in updating our records for the next Wisconsin Newspaper Directory. The email contained a copy of the data WNA currently has on file for each publication and instructions for submitting corrections.

The deadline to submit updated information is 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22. Corrections can be sent by email to or faxed to 608-283-7631. When sending corrections, please also include a copy of your 2017 Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation.

Associate business members were contacted this week and have until Friday, Dec. 29 to return corrections.

Have questions or didn't receive a copy of your newspaper's information? Email WNA Communcations Director James Debilzen or call 608-283-7623.

Are you promoting the Pulse of America shopping survey?

The WNA has partnered with Pulse Research to conduct a comprehensive shopping survey of newspaper readers across the state. The goal is to help you generate more revenue in 2018 by providing audience data at no cost to you that can be used in sales presentations. Help us reach the minimum sample size by Jan. 2, 2018, by promoting the survey in your market! In return for your efforts, you will be entitled to receive the statewide newspaper readership data.

Here are five ways you can help

Mueller joins Post-Crescent

Chris Mueller, an Appleton native, has joined The Post-Crescent as a breaking news reporter. He joined the paper in November and most recently worked for the Stevens Point Journal. Mueller graduated from Appleton East High School and studied at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He began his journalism career at The Daily Republic in Mitchell, S.D., in 2011 and returned to Wisconsin in 2015.

Read more

Mollyann Emerson

Mollyann G. Emerson, who along with her husband, Richard "Dick" Emerson, published the DeForest Times-Tribune and Poynette Press for many years, died Dec. 9 at UW Hospital in Madison.

Molly graduated from Beaver Dam High School in 1960 and received a degree in nursing from Madison Area Technical College. Molly and Dick were married in 1964 and moved to DeForest in 1965. She began doing bookkeeping for the DeForest Times Publishing Company in 1966 and, in 1968, Molly joined Dick in publishing the Times-Tribune.

They published the weekly Times-Tribune and a shopper for 30 years. Along the way, they purchased the Poynette Press, which they also published for several years. After selling the papers, Molly worked for Head Start programs in DeForest and Sun Prairie. She most recently worked as a substitute aide for the DeForest Area School District.

Molly is survived by her husband of 53 years, Richard; and two sons, Scott and James.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, at Christ Lutheran Church, 220 S. Main St., DeForest. Visitation will be held from 4-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14, at Ryan Funeral Home, 6924 Lake Road, DeForest, and again from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the memorial service on Dec. 15 at the church.

Read the obituary
Design For Readers
Rookies make mistakes

Let’s face it: If you have a “new kid” doing design on your staff … well, you’ll have some design mistakes in your paper from time to time. It takes a while — perhaps months — for the design rookie to learn what works and what doesn’t. In this month's "Design For Readers" column, design expert Ed Henninger offers a list of the “top 10” mistakes you can watch for — and correct.

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 provides a weekly analysis of issues being debated in Wisconsin state government. The column is underwritten by the WNA and produced exclusively for its members by, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics. Jeff Mayers, the president of, is a former editor and reporter for the Associated Press and a former political writer for the Wisconsin State Journal.

Column for the Week of Dec. 18
New group seeks to bridge gap between alternative energy, conservative ideology

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 Dec. 18
Wisconsin’s Architectural Journey – 10 Stops Along the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail | 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 Dec. 18
Judicial branch at state, local levels
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.

2018 Winning in Classified Revenue: Auto, Real Estate and Employment – Thursday, Jan. 11 | 1 p.m. Register

Making Video Work in Your Newsroom – Friday, Jan. 12 | 1 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

No webinars are currently scheduled.
WNA members get a discounted rate of $15 per Inland Press webinar. Non members are welcome at $25 per webinar. See all Inland Press Association webinars at

No webinars are currently scheduled.
View the latest career opportunities and submit your own job listing or resume on the WNA's careers page. Available positions:
Need to get rid of an old bundle tying machine, replace a worn out piece of equipment or sell your publication? Wisconsin Newspaper Association members are welcome to place “for sale” or “items wanted” ads in the Weekly Briefing and on the Buy-Sell-Trade page of the WNA's website for free. Submit your ads by email to

Letterpress engravings, wood type, California job case tray – Golden Members Dave and Gretchen Skoloda have downsized so there’s no wall space for their collection of letterpress engravings, wood type and a California job case tray. We have about two dozen examples of wood type and a dozen or so engravings. Make an offer to or 608 781 7502.

Small town community newspaper for sale. The Marion Advertiser has published weekly without interruption since 1895. It is now time to turn the business over to someone else. Owner has been with the business since 1967 and along with his wife, has owned it since 1985. Currently run as a mom and pop business with a part time salesman. Good cash flow from a 16 page broadsheet with nearly 1900 subscribers plus around 200 over the counter sales each week. If you are interested, please contact Dan at

Printing equipment for sale – Wisconsin Newspress, Inc. 113 E. Mill St., Plymouth, WI, 920-893-6411 ext. 29; has the following printing equipment for sale:
  • 2013 Cheshire 7000 with 2″ Videojet addressing head, computer and software. Asking $15,000
  • 2006 Cheshire 7000 with 2″ Videojet addressing head, computer and software. Asking $7,500
  • 2013 Bunn 1691 tying machine. $2000
  • Bunn 1691 tying machine. $1000
  • 2000 Screen Katana 5055 FTP imagesetter, Xitron Navigator RIP. $2500
  • 2001 Screen Katana 5055 FTP imagesetter, Xitron Navigator RIP, no dongle. $2000
  • Southern Lithoplate subtractive aluminum plates 36x24x.008 $1.75 ea. 1800 available
  • Southern LIthoplate plate developer 5 gal. cubes $40 ea. 10 available
  • Southern LIthoplate plate finisher 5 gal. cubes $40 ea. 14 available
  • Nu-Arc Flip-Top 6000 watt plate exposure machines $500 2 available.
  • Nu-Arc Flip-Top 3000 watt plate exposure machine $500.
  • Graham plate processor $500
Copy waxer – We are searching for a Daige-type copy waxer in working order. We occasionally use the waxer for mocking up a special section. Contact or call Gary Ridderbusch at Vilas County News-Review at 715-479-4421.

Electrical parts (sensors) for a hand-fed Auto Labe labeling machine, or if anyone has a hand-fed labeler they would like to get rid of, the Courier Press in Prairie du Chien is looking. Please call (608) 326-2441. Ask for Steve.
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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