Weekly Briefing | May 10, 2018
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How an Iowa newspaper boosted profits with an escape room
When Dan Bellows, maintenance manager for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa, suggested to  Woodward Communications CEO Tom Woodward they start an escape room in an empty company-owned building, Woodward encouraged him to draw up a business plan.

So, Bellows and Telegraph Herald Publisher Steve Fisher began investigating what it would take for a newspaper to own an escape room, they recently told the Columbia Journalism Review. Six months later — after Bellows, Fisher and a team from the newspaper took a road trip to visit escape rooms across the country — Escape Room Dubuque opened. The business, which is separate from other newspaper endeavors as far as branding and management, started turning a profit after the first month.

Columbia College Chicago to offer master's degree in Civic Media
Columbia College Chicago on Friday announced a new master's degree program that will combine media practice and civic engagement to drive social change. The degree will have applications for both new and experienced professionals, according to the release. Most classes in the one-year, three-semester program, which launched in January 2019, will be offered on Friday evenings and Saturdays to accommodate working professionals. 
4 tips for writing concise, compelling content

In his most recent column, Bart Pfankuch, a Wisconsin native who has spent 30 years as a reporter, writing coach and editor, encourages reporters to use quotes sparingly — and only the best ones. "As an editor, the first thing to cut when trying to shorten a story is a boring quote," Pfankuch says. "Your job is to make sure your quotes are so strong they could never be cut."
U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman to oppose newsprint tariffs
U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) has agreed to be the lead signer on a letter being circulated by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association in opposition to newsprint tariffs that threaten more than 600,000 jobs across the country. The letter urges U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman Rhonda K. Schmidtlein and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reject newsprint tariffs proposed by the North Pacific Paper Company.
Gmail's 'self-destruct' feature draws concern from national FOIC
The National Freedom of Information Council is urging Google to disable its new self-destruct feature for government emails, fearing it will thwart efforts to retrieve public records. The feature, added on April 25, allows users to send "confidential mode" emails that disappears after a set time limit. The emails also can't be forwarded, and they can be "unsent." In a letter written Friday to Google CEO Sundar Pochai, NFOIC President Malcolm J. Leary writes the "potential for abuse is astounding."
'Letters from Home' columnist returns after finishing her book
Classon's new column, 'The Postscript,' offered free to NNA members
Carrie Classon hadn't written "more than a business letter" when she approached Inter-County Leader Editor Gary King in 2009 about letting her write a weekly column, she recently told the National Newspaper Association. He took her up on a trial basis and, eventually, her "Letters from Home" became one of the newspaper's most popular columns. Three years ago, Classon took a break to finish her book but recently announced she'll resume column writing with "The Postscript," which she's offering free to NNA members who contact her before the end of June. 
Sunlight Foundation brings open data to city of Madison
The Sunlight Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for open government, recently released the results from its "Tactical Data Engagement" project with the city of Madison — the program's pilot project. The initiative is designed to help city leaders and residents collaborate on open data projects that improve government accountability and transparency. The final product in the Madison TDE is a data toolkit designed to help nonprofit organizations working to reduce youth violence on Madison’s Northside find and use open data to better contextualize their work and goals in grant applications to the city. The toolkit, a companion to a City of Madison grant opportunity, was written to serve the specific needs and data capacities of Madison nonprofits.
Among Friends
Tom Kelley, director of sales operations for the La Crosse Tribune, retired Friday after 37 years in the newspaper business.

Kelley started his career selling ads for the Bettendorf News, despite the fact that the idea of selling made him "ill." When he was promoted a year later, he doubled the paper's circulation and its ad revenue. He has served as ad director for the Muscatine Journal, La Crosse Tribune and Winona Daily News, and general manager for River Valley Media Group's weekly division. He returned to the Tribune a few years ago to serve as director of sales operations.
Lake Geneva Regional News, reporter Steve Targo, who has been with the paper for more than 20 years, is switching his position. Targo will no longer cover news, but will instead serve as the newspaper's Special Sections Coordinator.

Targo, who has a passion for music, entertainment and feature writing, will write articles that appear in The Resorter and Welcome Home, as well as four other special sections.
Former Regional News Reporter Jen Gragg will return to the newspaper to cover Targo's former beat, which includes the towns of Linn, Bloomfield, Geneva and the villages of Genoa City and Bloomfied. She previously covered crime, Walworth County Government and the city of Lake Geneva.

Gragg was recently recognized by the WNA as its "Rookie of the Year," an award given to a journalist who recently entered the field. 
Also at the Lake Geneva Regional News, the newspaper is adding two community members to its editorial board in an effort to expand its perspective.

"The decision to seek qualified volunteers who are not part of the Regional News staff was one we made to make the editorials, and the newspaper, better," Robert Ireland, the newspaper's general manager, said Wednesday in the announcement.
Elizabeth Lupo DiVito, a mother and real estate agent who in 2012 moved to her Lake Geneva vacation spot permanently, will bring insights regarding local schools and the community's newsworthy real estate market.

Patrick Quinn, an occasional historical columnist for the newspaper and Northwestern University's archivist emeritus, will also join the board. Quinn, whose family has a long history with the community, is expected to provide a better understanding of the community's history.
The Markesan Regional Reporter recently welcomed Roberta "Robin" Schmuhl to its staff. Schmuhl, a Boscobel native who most recently worked as a corrections officer at Dodge County Correctional Facility, will work in the newspaper's front office.
Longtime newspaperman Thomas Crane Murphy died Sunday at the age of 86. Murphy's family owned Farm Publications and Crane Publications, operators of the Farmer's and Friend and Pride weekly newspapers.

Murphy, a Green Bay native, worked as a reporter at the Wisconsin State Journal for two years before going to work for the family business, where he succeeded in father as editor of both publications. After the newspapers were sold to Brown County Publishing in 1975, Murphy joined Fort Howard Paper Co., serving for seven years as the company's first governmental affairs director and vice president of its foundation. In 1984, he joined the Green Bay Press-Gazette as a reporter and business columnist. He retired in 1998, but continued to write his business column, "Heard on the Street," for several years.
Charity Huff, Maroon Ventures
Ryan Martinez, Gatehouse Media
May 24
Photoshop Tips & Tricks
Russell Viers, Adobe Certified Trainer
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Ads for newspapers and newspaper equipment are posted on the WNA's Buy-Sell-Trade page as a free service to members. Ads are $35 for 60 days for non-members. Recent posts include: 
Items for sale
Letterpress engravings
• 2013 Cheshire 7000
• Bunn 1691 tying machine
Newspaper for sale
• The Marion Advertiser
• Copy waxer

• Auto Labe machine sensors
Whether you're looking for a new job or are hoping to fill a position, the WNA Careers Page is a great resource. Recent job postings include: 
Managing editor, Lodi Enterprise & Poynette Press
Full time reporter, Inter-County Leader in Frederic, Wis.
General assignment reporter, Watertown Daily Times
Looking for a job candidate? Browse resumes of potential employees. 
see all jobs
The Wisconsin Openness Report is a weekly newsletter produced by the WNA highlighting coverage of public records, open meetings and First Amendment issues. Stories to be featured in tomorrow's issue include:

Group demands records of Schimel's remarks at anti-gay group's conference

DA: No wrongdoing in Chippewa County Board email chain 

Racine mayor orders review of police department culture

Don't miss the next edition. Sign up today to have the Openness Report delivered to your inbox each week. 
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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