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Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Weekly Briefing

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Gregg Walker, publisher of The Lakeland Times in Minocqua, testifies before the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government on Tuesday at the state Capitol in Madison. – James Debilzen photo

Senate committee holds hearing on public notice bill

Representatives of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association returned to the Capitol on Tuesday to testify against legislation that would eliminate newspaper publication requirements for local government meeting proceedings.

The WNA voiced its opposition to Senate Bill 42 during a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government.

On March 8, the WNA opposed Assembly Bill 70 – SB42's companion bill – during a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Local Government.

Gregg Walker, publisher of The Lakeland Times in Minocqua, addressed misconceptions about the newspaper industry during Tuesday's public hearing and highlighted instances when his readers took action after reading public notices in the newspaper. Beth Bennett, executive director of the WNA, and Helen Marks Dicks, state issues advocacy director of AARP of Wisconsin, also testified against Senate Bill 42.

Read more ...

What our members are saying about AB70 and SB42:

WNA members encouraged to partner with REACH-A-Child

A nonprofit organization that helps first responders who encounter children in emergencies is seeking partnerships with newspapers around the state to raise awareness about its mission.

REACH-A-Child, established in 2007 and based in Madison, places books in the vehicles of law enforcement officials, firefighters and EMTs to give first responders a tool to distract and comfort children in crisis situations.

Communities that partner with REACH-A-Child receive a bag for each emergency vehicle containing 10 children’s books and 10 children’s drawstring backpacks. When first responders encounter a child in crisis, they offer the child a book along with a backpack to carry the book and anything else the child might have to keep with them. First responders will often read with the child to direct attention away from the crisis.

As an industry built on reading, the WNA encourages members to help raise awareness about REACH-A-Child by sharing content about the organization, highlighting local sponsors through advertising or by funding backpacks in their communities.

For more information about REACH-A-Child, visit or email

Journal Sentinel's Ellen Gabler joining New York Times

Ellen Gabler, a reporter and deputy investigations editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been hired by the New York Times and will join the newspaper's investigative department. Gabler is one of three investigative journalists hired by the Times on Thursday, according to a press release from the company. 

Gabler has covered courts, cops, various government agencies and worked for several years as a business reporter. She most recently focused on health and regulatory issues. At the Journal Sentinel, her reporting on flaws in the nation’s newborn screening program led to reforms in hospitals and states across the country. 

Gabler has won a Livingston award and shared with colleagues the Selden Ring Award, Scripps Howard, Gerald Loeb, IRE and National Headliner awards in 2014. She was a finalist for the Loeb and IRE awards last year.

She grew up in Eau Claire, Wis., graduated from Emory University and received a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She started at the Stillwater (Minn.) Gazette, and later worked at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and the Chicago Tribune. She serves on the board of directors of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).

Read more ...

Celebrating Sunshine Week in the Badger State

The sun is setting on Sunshine Week, but newspapers across the state continue to cast a bright light on government transparency.

Sunshine Week is a nationwide initiative with the goal to spark a discussion about the critical importance of access to public information. The annual observance ends on Saturday.

Need some last-minute tools or story ideas? The American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have made several columns, cartoons and other items available for free in an online toolkit.

Here's what our members are writing about during Sunshine Week:

Vietnam veterans special section materials still available

During the recent WNA Convention & Trade Show, several members expressed an interest in publishing the "Wisconsin Faces" Vietnam Veterans Memorial special section, which was produced by the Dodge County Pionier in Mayville and offered to WNA members prior to Memorial Day in 2016. The section is the culmination of a two-year effort by Wisconsin newspapers to find missing photos of fallen soldiers who are listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Details about the special section and instructions to download files can be found here.


Ad-libs: Advertising is all about motivation

When you peel back the layers of advertising philosophy and technique, it all comes down to one thing: Motivation. People buy things because they are motivated. And the most effective ads are those that appeal to the right motivation. Join advertising columnist John Foust as he explores the two basic motivators in advertising and offers formulas to write better ad headlines.

Read more ...

Design for Readers: Giving writers their due

The state of writing in newspapers is directly proportional to the amount of editing and direction that writers receive, says design expert Ed Henninger. Writers become better at their craft when they're given sound editing and direction. And it's up to their editors and publishers to see they get that.

Read more ...

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.

Engaging Readers Through Your Editorial Page - Thursday, March 23 | 1-2 p.m. Register

Communicating and Collaborating Across Generations - Thursday, April 20 | 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). Register for all LMA webinars at

Dual Transformation: What is the Prediction for ‘Transformation A’? - Tuesday, March 21 | 2-2:45 p.m.

Facebook Branded Content Posts: What You Need to Know! - Tuesday, April 11 | 2-2:45 p.m.
WNA members can take advantage of reduced registration rates for webinars on Kevin Slimp's Newspaper Academy online community, featuring some of the most highly sought after trainers and speakers in the newspaper industry. Register for all Newspaper Academy webinars at

Kevin Slimp: Tips to Design Better Pages - Thursday, March 23 | 2 p.m.

Tim Smith: Staying Positive in a Negative World - Thursday, April 13 | 10 a.m.
  • 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:
    • Weekly Newspaper Editor – Southern Lakes Newspapers, Delavan
    • Reporter – Waupaca County Post
    • Reporter – La Crosse Tribune
    • Editor – Winona Daily News, Minn.
    • Community Reporter/Page Designer/Photographer – Unified Newspaper Group, Verona
    • Editor – Advertising Community News and Times-Press, Seymour
    • Editor – Kenosha News
    • Advertising Account Rep – Watertown Daily Times
    • Reporter – Ozaukee Press
    • Summer Internship — Waushara Argus, Wautoma
    • FOR SALE: Small town community newspaper – The Marion Advertiser
  • 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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