October 20, 2008
The exceptions prove the rule
By Bill Kraus
A few days ago, I blogged about the disappearance of news reporting in Wisconsin.
The blog post focused on the $20 million Laird Research Center expansion in Marshfield that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covered without sending a reporter to the announcement event in Marshfield or sending one to Marshfield at all. Indeed, the paper hasn't sent a reporter farther than 30 miles north of Milwaukee for years.
Since I wrote the original post I've learned that the reason the Journal Sentinel even covered this story at all is that Tom Still, a former Wisconsin State Journal editor who now heads the Wisconsin Technology Council, attended the Marshfield event, noted the absence of reporters and managed to prevail upon a Journal Sentinel reporter to write something about it.
Worse yet, while the Marshfield News-Herald covered the story, not even the Gannett papers in Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point or Green Bay picked up the feed. The Wausau Daily Herald is the only Gannett paper in the state that used the Marshfield News-Herald wire story, and none of the non-Gannett papers that subscribe to the Associated Press used it either.
When reporters don't cover important stories the best we can hope for is to have wire stories and interest-group PR agents feeding stories to reporters. And even under these degenerated standards, only a few papers throughout the entire state found room for the story.
post a letter about this blog »
The lack of reporting of the Marshfield event is all the more scary because of the Tribune Company's undermining of Associated Press. Maybe we won't even have wire services!
-Bruce Fetter | Milwaukee, WI | October 21, 2008