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Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Weekly Briefing
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Busted mutton

Five-year-old Brendan Dock of River Falls gets thrown from his mount, but not before riding long enough to win the kid’s mutton busting contest at the 53rd annual UW-River Falls Falcon Frontier Days Rodeo Saturday, Sept. 9 at the UWRF rodeo grounds. This photo by Bob Burrows appeared in Thursday's River Falls Journal.

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
From left, SPJ-Madison President Mark Pitsch, UW-Madison student Saivon Castro and UW-Madison Center for Journalism Ethics Director Kathleen Culver listen to a question from the audience during a discussion Tuesday night on the First Amendment. – James Debilzen photo
Panel discusses future of free speech, First Amendment

BY JAMES DEBILZEN | Communications Director
MADISON – A panel of free speech advocates addressed looming issues involving the First Amendment on Tuesday during a discussion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The panel spoke about the implications of a bill before the Wisconsin Legislature that could punish students for disrupting controversial speakers, the death of a counterprotester at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and President Donald Trump’s constant clashes with the news media. The panel was hosted by the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the UW-Madison Center for Journalism Ethics.

“Today, we're confronted with a number of new questions surrounding speech, particularly public speech,” said Mark Pitch, president of the Madison SPJ and moderator of the panel. “… Some people have called for additional restrictions on speech. We've got a president who refers to the news media as ‘fake news’ and threatens to change libel laws ... Today, we'll try to discuss all the important questions surrounding these issues.”

The speakers were attorney James Friedman, representing the Wisconsin Newspaper Association; Kathleen Culver, assistant professor, James E. Burgess chair in Journalism Ethics and director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at UW-Madison; and Saivon Castro, a UW-Madison student and research assistant for One Wisconsin Now.

Attorney James Friedman, representing the WNA, makes introductory remarks during a panel discussion on the First Amendment on Tuesday night. – James Debilzen photo

Friedman said he and members of the WNA generally support the broadest interpretations of the First Amendment and the rights of free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, noting any talk of new limitations should be cause for alarm.

Friedman said he was troubled about the bill before the state Legislature that would suspend or expel students who disrupt speakers at University of Wisconsin System events.

The Republican-backed measure, approved by the Assembly in June, is intended to protect the freedom of speech for speakers who may draw protestors, according to the bill’s supporters. The bill was authored after conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was disrupted by protesters in November at UW-Madison.

Pitsch said sponsors of the bill – including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and Rep. David Murphy – were invited to participate on the panel, but were unable to make commitments due to busy schedules at the Capitol.

Friedman said he believes the bill’s supporters are trying to address legitimate concerns, but he said the bill takes the wrong approach.

“My thought is this is the wrong solution and there already exists tools to deal with that issue,” Friedman said. “They're general, logistical tools and there are also legal tools available.”

Culver also addressed the campus speech bill, noting there are valid concerns about disrupting speech and “ideological orthodoxy” on college campuses. But Culver said she believes it’s not “as big a disease as it’s sold to be” and that universities have become a “convenient tool in a much larger culture war.”

Castro said he was concerned the campus speech bill would disproportionately affect students of color, who have been at the heart of many protests at UW-Madison and around the country.

“The point of protest is to be loud and disruptive of the status quo,” Castro said. “One of the most powerful tools of the civil rights movement was civil disobedience and disruption. Under this policy, it's unclear if counterprotestors in Charlottesville would have faced repercussions for that.”

Castro concurred with Friedman’s assessment of the campus speech bill, adding the remedies were “redundant.”

“This bill is heavy handed,” Castro said. “I think it is the height of legislative arrogance to believe the government can settle the civil discourse.”

Culver said there is a lot of talk about the rights that are guaranteed in the First Amendment, but not enough discussion about the responsibilities. She said it benefits society to hear differing viewpoints and, when necessary, to refute them. Culver also noted there is a problem with inequity in free speech, however, with speakers in the majority having more power than the minority.

“If you're some bed-wetting liberal, you benefit from having conservatives challenging your view, and vice versa,” Culver said. “We're retreating from the kind of engagement that's going to make us better citizens (with) better minds.”

Friedman and Culver said recent attacks by representatives in government who try to discredit the news media should also be a cause for alarm.

“When government attacks the news media, when there's talk of reforming libel laws, when someone says they're going to restrict speech on campus, get nervous,” Culver said. “Get really scared. Be frightened of that. Because when you start to slowly accept those kinds of restrictions on free expression, this democracy is not going to make it.”

Make plans for National Newspaper Week

The 77th anniversary of National Newspaper Week (NNW) runs Oct. 1-7.  The annual observance celebrates and emphasizes the impact of newspapers to communities large and small all over.

Material will be available for download beginning Monday, Sept. 25 at

The content kit contains editorials, editorial cartoons, promotional ads and more, all available at no charge to daily and non-daily newspapers across North America. NNW is sponsored by Newspaper Association Managers, Inc., the consortium of North American trade associations representing the industry on a state and provincial, regional and national basis.

This year’s theme is “Real Newspapers … Real News!” The aim is to applaud and underscore newspaper media’s role as the leading provider of news in print, online or in palms via mobile devices.

PLAN TO CELEBRATE National Newspaper Week by downloading the materials and devoting as many column inches as possible to reinforce the importance of newspapers to your communities.

PLEASE ALSO MAKE IT LOCAL by editorializing about your newspaper’s unique relevance. This can be about your government watchdog role, coverage of community events, publication of timely public notices, etc.

Since the principle is timeless, the materials, new and archived, remain on the website and accessible year-round as a continuing resource.

Free content now available by email

Did you know the WNA offers free content for members to use in their publications every week? Starting today, we’re making it easier to get the latest offerings by sending them directly to your inbox.

The WNA is now sending a weekly email to editors containing direct links to download the newest free content, including “The Capitol Report” by, “Thinking About Health” by Trudy Lieberman, “Discover Wisconsin” and “WISTAX Facts” by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

The email will be sent every Thursday prior to the release of The Weekly Briefing. Updated free content will also continue to be available for download on the WNA’s website (including the new website, set to launch later this month) and in The Weekly Briefing.

If you didn’t receive today’s free content email and would like to receive it in the future, send a quick note to and we’ll add you to the mailing list.

Deadline for WNAF-sponsored Kohl awards is Oct. 6

Members of the WNA are encouraged to nominate teachers and principals from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade for the 2018 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation teacher Fellowship and principal Leadership awards. The submission deadline is Oct. 6. Nominations can be submitted at

The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship and Leadership programs are co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, and the state’s 12 cooperative educational service agencies.

Awards are $6,000, with an additional $6,000 grant going to the school of each selected teacher and principal. Established in 1990, the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation gives 100 Fellowship and 16 Leadership awards annually from among all applicants throughout the state.

Teachers or principals must be nominated by a parent, student, other teacher, community member, or school administrator. Wisconsin teachers and principals in grades PK through 12 who plan to continue in their current capacity for at least one year are eligible. The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship rewards teachers who have demonstrated superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, have motivated others, and have provided meritorious service both in and outside the classroom. It also recognizes and supports principals who demonstrate administrative leadership and a positive influence on school culture.

Selection of recipients will be made by a state-level panel composed of representatives from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, cooperative educational service agencies, Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, several education-related associations, and community representatives.

Learn more about the Teacher Fellowship Awards
Learn more about the Principal Leadership Awards

Statement of Ownership filings due Sept. 29

Oct. 1 is the deadline for paid distribution newspapers to file the Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation form (PS Form 3526) with your postmaster. Since Oct.1 falls on a Sunday this year, plan to submit your form by the close of business on Sept. 29.

Remember that paid electronic subscriptions may be included as circulation in postal statements. A paid subscriber, electronic or print, may only be counted once. A print subscriber with free access to the electronic version of your paper cannot be counted as a paid e-Subscriber. To be considered a paid electronic subscriber, the subscriber must pay more than a nominal rate for the subscription.

After filing, you must publish your statement according to the following timetable, depending on frequency of publication:

  • Publications issued more frequently than weekly should publish no later than Oct. 10. This applies to dailies, semi-weeklies and three-times-per-week publications.
  • Publications issued weekly, or less frequently, but not less than monthly, publish by Oct. 31. This applies to weeklies.
  • All other publications publish in the first issue after Oct. 1. This applies to infrequent publications such as quarterlies, bi-monthlies, etc.

Download Forms

For more information, go to the Domestic Mail Manual on
Are you coding all your public notices?

Are you really sure all your public notices contain the required "WNAXLP" code?

The WNA, which regularly spot-checks notices for the code, strongly encourages members to double-check their public notice pages and to educate staff about the importance of including "WNAXLP" on all public notices, including display ads, bid notices, requests for proposals and before and after jumps.

If in doubt whether an item from a local government, the courts or an attorney should be coded as a public notice, code it anyway. It does no harm to play it safe.

Wisconsin statute requires all legal notices published in newspapers must also appear on the WNA's public notice website — In order for this to occur, notices must be coded as mentioned. 
If you have any questions regarding this issue or others, please contact Denise Guttery, WNA Media Services Director, 608-283-7630 or

Unified Newspaper Group welcomes new reporter

Chuck Nowlen has joined the staff of Unified Newspaper Group.

Nowlen, who moved back to the Madison area earlier this year, brings a broad range of experience in the newspaper industry to the community reporter position. That includes a past four-year stint at the Fitchburg Star, Verona Press and Oregon Observer before they were part of UNG.

Nowlen joins UNG to replace Samantha Christian, who covered Oregon and Fitchburg community news.

Read more

Williams takes editor title at Lake Geneva Regional News

Scott Williams has been named the editor of the Lake Geneva Regional News.

Williams is a Chicago native who began his career in 1984 in Peoria, Ill. He previously worked as a reporter for the Dallas Business Journal, Rockford Register Star, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green Bay Press-Gazette and Wolf River Media.

Read more

Robert Francis Hiebing Jr.

Robert Francis Hiebing Jr., who worked for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 16 years, died Sept. 4, 2017. He was 65.

Hiebing was a Sheboygan native who graduated with honors from Lakeland College with a degree in business. Following his career at the Journal Sentinel, he retired and enjoyed his retirement years with family and friends.

A celebration of life was held Sept. 16 in Sheboygan.

Read the obituary

Into The Issues
What's your motto?

Slogans or mottoes are needed at a time when the very idea of independent, professional journalism is under attack from the highest levels of government and partisan media, writes Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

Print circulation is down, but newspapers still have broad audiences and provide most of the accountability journalism that the writers of the First Amendment had in mind. Slogans and mottoes can not only remind the public of newspapers' importance, but remind newspaper staff of ideals and principles they should follow.

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 Sept. 18
Tougher Drunken Driving Penalties Sought

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 Sept. 18
Hidden Gem Fall Festivals | 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 Sept. 18
State's Per Pupil Spending Falls Below National Average as Benefit Costs Decline
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 Sept. 12
Hospitals May Get Accredited Even With Poor, Unsafe Care

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.

Headlines That Pop! – Thursday, Sept. 21 | 1-2 p.m. Register

How to Sell the Value of Digital Without Overselling Your Client – Friday, Sept. 29 | 1-2 p.m. Register

Automatic InDesign: Part 2 – Friday, Oct. 6 | 1-2 p.m. Register

Six Ways to Make Your FOIA/Public Records Requests More Effective – Thursday, Oct. 12 | 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

Instagram's Advice for News Organizations – Tuesday, Sept. 19 | 3-3:45 p.m. Register

Biggest Bets Media Companies Are Making Today – Tuesday, Sept. 26 | 11 a.m. Register
  • CAREERS - BUY - SELL - TRADE: View the latest career opportunities, resumes and "for sale" listings. Available positions:
    • Account Executive – Kenosha News
    • Sports Editor – Waunakee Tribune
    • Editor – Burnett County Sentinel, Grantsburg
    • Assistant Editor – Agri-View, Madison
    • Advertising Sales Position – News Publishing Inc.
    • General Assignment Reporter – Reedsburg Times-Press
    • Journalist – The Monroe Times
    • Automotive Account Executive – Capital Newspapers
    • Managing/Sports Editor – The Milton Courier
    • News Reporter/Assistant Editor (two positions) – Waunakee Tribune and DeForest Times-Tribune
    • FOR SALE: Small town community newspaper – The Marion Advertiser
    • FOR SALE: Printing equipment – Wisconsin Newspress, Plymouth 
    • FOR SALE: Weekly Newspaper – The Chilton Times Journal
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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