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Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Weekly Briefing

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pelican Lake garage fire

Firefighters from Fire District Alpha (Pelican Lake, Elcho and Monico) battled not only a fully engulfed garage fire on Pelican Lake’s Chicago Point Road, but the heat and humidity as well. Here, a member of the Pelican Lake Fire Department walks wearily through the smoldering wreckage looking for hot spots. This photo was submitted by Jamie Taylor of the 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
Only one week left to register for Trees

The WNA Trees Retreat will be held Aug. 24-25 at Trees For Tomorrow, 513 Sheridan Drive, Eagle River. The deadline to register is Friday, Aug. 18.

This year's Trees Retreat offers training by a nationally renowned community journalism expert with opportunities for networking and beloved pastimes like the annual golf outing, the memorial pylon ceremony and a steak fry in the WNA Press Forest.

The WNA has a limited number of discounted rooms available at the Best Western Derby Inn in Eagle River. Contact Member Services Director Julia Hunter for more information.

Dormitory-style lodging is also available and can be reserved through the retreat's online registration portal.
Register for the WNA Trees Retreat
Each year, the Trees Retreat concludes with a steak fry in the WNA-owned Press Forest, located about four miles south of Eagle River.
Really? The WNA owns a forest?

You bet it does!

The Trees Retreat began in 1947 when Francis F. Schweinler, publisher of The Mosinee Times, invited members of the Wisconsin Press Association (forerunner of the WNA) to visit the Trees For Tomorrow camp in Eagle River. Publishers visited places of interest in the area and learned about forestry at Trees For Tomorrow, a natural resources specialty school that was created to help reforest northern Wisconsin and educate the public about proper land management.

The history of the WNA Press Forest dates back to 1956, when members of the WPA decided during an outing at Trees For Tomorrow to buy some land nearby and transform it into an outdoor study area for teachers, students and others to learn about nature and ecology. The idea received a hearty endorsement from M. N. (Mully) Taylor, then-executive director of Trees For Tomorrow, who agreed that his organization would assume management of the forest for the WPA in exchange for its use as an outdoor classroom by Trees For Tomorrow.

A year later, after collecting donations from the WPA membership, a 78-acre farm was purchased south of Eagle River and work began to transform abandoned fields, which were no longer suitable for agriculture, into what is now the WNA Press Forest. 

From 1957 until 1962, 25,000 trees were planted by machine on the land. An additional 4,800 trees were planted by hand by high school students attending the Trees For Tomorrow camp. By 1966, when the first pulp cutting operations were conducted, the forest had 40,000 machine-planted trees and 10,000 hand-planted trees. 

A number of improvements have been made in the forest during the last several decades. A boardwalk was built over a bog to enable closer study of a dying marshland. A picnic area was cleared and developed atop a knoll deep in the forest with an outdoor grill, picnic tables and a small shelter. Lake Zielke – a small half-acre lake near the picnic area – was built and dedicated in honor of Carl A. Zielke, who served as manager of the Wisconsin Press Association for 33 years.

Newspaper professionals from across Wisconsin continue to return annually to Eagle River to participate in the two-day Trees Retreat, which concludes the second day with a steak fry in the forest.


Our Speaker

This year’s Trees Retreat presenter is Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. He'll discuss how community journalists can distinguish and defend themselves at a time when the media is under attack and provide tips for helping readers understand broad issues with local context. Read more about his sessions.

Memorial Pylon Honorees

The WNA Foundation’s memorial pylon ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 25 to pay tribute to Wisconsin publishers who have died. A welcome reception will begin at 11 a.m. The 2017 honorees are Michael Aubinger, Betty Lou Dansin Stewart, Donald W. Bearder, Noel Zander and Marius Page Jr.

Read more about the honorees and their newspapers.

The Schedule

The Trees Retreat kicks off Thursday, Aug. 24 with a golf outing at Eagle River Golf Course and dinner at Eddie B's White Spruce Restaurant & Tavern. On Friday, Al Cross will lead sessions on community journalism and we'll induct five industry leaders on the WNA memorial pylon. The day concludes with a steak fry in the WNA Press Forest.

Download the Full Schedule.


Join Our Facebook Events

Connect with other attendees and find out more about the Trees Retreat and the annual golf outing to benefit the WNA Foundation.

Download the Full Schedule
Register for the WNA Trees Retreat
Bennett elected to NAM board

WNA Executive Director Beth Bennett has been elected to the Newspaper Association Managers, Inc., (NAM) Board of Directors.

NAM is a professional organization comprised of the executives of state, regional, national and international newspaper associations headquartered in the United States and Canada.

Bennett was elected as a director of the board during NAM's annual conference, which was held Aug. 1-5 in Philadelphia.

The newly elected 2017-2018 NAM Board of Directors includes: 

  • George White, New Jersey Press Association, president
  • Tom Newton, California Newspaper Publishers Association, vice-president
  • Michelle Rea, New York Press Association, secretary
  • Steve Nixon, Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper Association, director
  • Beth Bennett, Wisconsin Newspaper Association, director
  • Laurie Hieb, Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, director
  • Dave Bordewyk, South Dakota Newspaper Association, director
  • Layne Bruce, Mississippi Press Association, immediate past-president
  • Morley Piper, NAM clerk
NAM began in 1923 ​and through the years has grown in both membership and leadership for addressing challenges and opportunities in the newspaper industry. The organization hosts various meetings throughout the year for its members. NAM is also responsible for the coordination and promotion of National Newspaper Week each October.
Federal lunch program information not a required public notice

As the new school year approaches, the WNA has started fielding questions from members who are being asked by their local school districts to publish information about the National School Lunch Program.

The WNA wants to clarify that these notices are not required to be published in local newspapers.

The federal government requires school districts to notify district residents of the National School Lunch Program, including providing the information to local news media. It is up to the newspaper to decide if they want to publish the information for free or ask the school district to pay for the space.

The bottom line, however, is the school district is not required to run the information as a paid public notice in a newspaper.

If you have any additional questions, please contact WNA Executive Director Beth Bennett at 608-283-7621 or

Learn more about the National School Lunch Program

MMC buys The Press in Ashwaubenon

Multi Media Channels LLC, based in Waupaca, has purchased The Press, covering Ashwaubenon, Howard and Hobart-Suamico, from Aubinger Communications.

Publisher Annette Aubinger announced the sale in a column addressed to the community in the Aug. 4 edition of The Press. The family owned newspaper was founded by Lois Aubinger in 1970.

In her column, Annette Aubinger said she would remain with the paper as its editor.

"It will be the same paper, just different management," Aubinger wrote. "Some of our subscribers have suggested new ideas for articles and information. I now will have the time to take those ideas and move forward, supported by the new management."

Annette Aubinger operated the newspaper together with her husband, Michael Aubinger, until his death in March.

The WNA will memorialize Michael Aubinger during the annual Memorial Pylon Induction Ceremony on Aug. 25. The ceremony is part of the WNA's Trees Retreat at Trees For Tomorrow in Eagle River.

Read more

Capital Newspapers hosting sales career fair Friday

Looking for a career in sales? Capital Newspapers is hosting a Sales Career Fair from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 11 at its headquarters in Madison, 1901 Fish Hatchery Road.

Capital Newspapers is growing its sales team and has openings for multi-media account exectives, digital account executives and account managers.

Job-seekers should come prepared with a resume. All who attend are guaranteed an interview.

Learn more

WNA wants you to give feedback on overtime rules

The National Newspaper Association is asking newspaper managers across the country to participate in a survey about the effects revised federal overtime rules could have on their businesses. The WNA encourages you to offer your feedback.

You do not need to be a member of the NNA to participate.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor briefly put into effect a rule raising the salary requirements for exempt employees to $47,476 annually, more than doubling the previous level set in 2004. That rule was immediately suspended by a federal court. Now, new Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says he will not enforce that rule and he is taking a new look at the issue.

The NNA will provide feedback on the issue to the Department of Labor based on the survey's results. Please take a few moments to tell the NNA how the updated rules would have affected your business and offer your opinion on potential new rules.

If you have other comments, you are welcome to write privately to NNA President Matthew Paxton IV, publisher of The News-Gazette in Lexington, Va., at

Take the survey

News Media Alliance condemns Sessions' statements on press freedoms

The News Media Alliance on Friday said it "strongly condemns" statements by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced during a press conference that the Department of Justice was “reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas.”

Sessions went on to say that the freedom of the press is not unlimited and has “this message for the intelligence community: The Department of Justice (DOJ) is open for business.”

Read more

State Bar hosting free reporters' legal workshop on Sept. 8

The State Bar of Wisconsin will hold a free reporters’ legal workshop for members of the Wisconsin media from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8 at the State Bar, 5302 Eastpark Boulevard, Madison.
The workshop will feature new tools to help report on the criminal justice system; offer tips from veteran journalists, lawyers, and judges; give insight into open records and open meetings laws; and explore ongoing issues within Wisconsin’s justice system, including mass and disparate incarceration.
A full day of panels and presentations is planned on the following topics: 

  • Public Records: How to Get the Records You Need
  • Media Law: Defamation, Reporter Shield Law, Open Meetings, Open Records Rulings
  • Immigration Law and Policy Changes Under the New Administration
  • Question and Answer with seasoned legal affairs reporter Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Owning the Problem: Mass and Disparate Incarceration in Wisconsin
  • Evidence-Based Decision Making, Strategies to Improve the Criminal Justice System
  • New Tools in Criminal Justice Reporting
  • Gill v. Whitford, The Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Redistricting Case that Challenges the Constitutionality of Wisconsin’s Electoral Maps

A complete schedule for the day with more information on the presenters and panelists is available online. Breakfast and lunch will be provided courtesy of the State Bar, as well as free lodging nearby for Thursday, Sept. 7 for a limited number of early registrants who live at least two hours outside of the Madison area.
Questions?  Contact Kristen Durst, State Bar Public Relations Coordinator at 608-250-6025 or

See the Schedule & Register
Sports editor departs from Sun Prairie Star

Nick Daniels, sports editor of The Star in Sun Prairie for the last year, has resigned to begin graduate school this fall. His last day was Friday, Aug. 4.

Daniels had been with the star since 2014, when he began working as an assistant sports editor alongside longtime sports editor Karl Raymond. Raymond retired from The Star last summer after spending more than 30 years covering the greater Madison sports scene.

"I have learned so much from this job about writing, about editing, about publishing," Daniels said in a farewell column. "But I have also realized there is plenty more I would like to learn."

Jeff Seisser, longtime editor of the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, will take Daniels' place. Seisser has been with the Daily Union for more than 20 years.

Read more

Shirley J. Sager

Funeral services for Shirley J. Sager, former owner and publisher of The Villager in Cedar Grove, were held July 30 in Cedar Grove.

Sager, 97, died Feb. 23. She was born in 1919 in Cedar Grove and was a 1937 graduate of the Wisconsin Memorial Academy.

Sager and her husband, Clifton, owned and published The Villager for 15 years and worked as journalists for various television and radio stations. She also helped produce educational films for the State of Wisconsin.

Sager is survived by one daughter and four grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Clifton; two daughters; and one grandson.

Read the obituary

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 features news and analysis on statewide government and political issues in Wisconsin. The column is available for free publication by WNA-member newspapers only.

Column for the Week of Aug. 14
Potential Dem gubernatorial candidates critical, cautious on Foxconn

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 Aug. 14
5 Pick-Your-Own Fruit Farms in Wisconsin | 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 Aug. 14
Forecasts Grim for Social Security and Medicare, Reports Say
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 July 20
U.S. Healthcare Ranked Lower Than In Most Developed Nations


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.

Five Ways to Use Facebook Live (Plus a How-To) – Thursday, Aug. 17 | 1-2 p.m. Register

Automatic InDesign – Thursday, Aug. 24 | 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

Why Buy Now?  Tuesday, Aug. 22 | 2-2:45 p.m. Register
  • 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:
    • Night Shift Production Supervisor – The Gazette, Janesville
    • Account Executive – Agri-view, Madison
    • Sports Editor – Wolf River Media, Shawano
    • Community Reporter/Page Designer/Photographer – Unified Newspaper Group, Verona
    • Sports/News Reporter – The Star News, Medford
    • Reporter – The Gazette, Janesville
    • Suburban Weekly Reporter – River Valley Media Group, La Crosse
    • Editor/Writer – The Courier Wedge, Durand
    • Reporter/Editor – Portage County Gazette, Stevens Point
    • Business Reporter – Wisconsin State Journal
    • Sales Representative – Baldwin Bulletin
    • Sections Editor – The Gazette, Janesville
    • News Reporter – The Le Mars (Iowa) Daily Sentinel
    • Sports Reporter/Assistant Editor – Daily Jefferson County Union, Fort Atkinson
    • Reporter – Monroe County Herald
    • FOR SALE: Small town community newspaper – The Marion Advertiser
    • FOR SALE: Printing equipment – Wisconsin Newspress, Plymouth 
    • FOR SALE: Weekly Newspaper – The Chilton Times Journal
  • 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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