News takes second in general excellence at WNAThe New Richmond News was honored Friday as one of the best Wisconsin weekly newspaper in Wisconsin during the 2009 Better Newspaper Contest awards in Middleton.
The New Richmond News was honored Friday as one of the best Wisconsin weekly newspaper in Wisconsin during the 2009 Better Newspaper Contest awards in Middleton.
The contest, conducted by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, recognizes journalistic efforts from the previous year.
The New Richmond News earned second place in general excellence for large weekly newspapers, among other honors. Among the judges’ comments:
“Another excellent newspaper that serves its readers well. Paper does an excellent job of finding and telling stories well. The residents of New Richmond are lucky to have such a newspaper dedicated to its community.”
Other honors included first place finishes for best headlines, Dave Newman; best ad idea, Rene Findlay and Cindy Olson (Doyle’s Farm & Home); best special section, Operation Farewell; best use of color, Olson and Findlay (Countryside Vet Clinic); best multiple advertiser spread; Findlay, Judy Monette, Chris Conway and Olson (Cancer Awareness); best use of art service, Findlay, Conway, Monette, Olson (Cancer Awareness); best newspaper promotion, Findlay (Power Coupons); innovative online advertising (JJ’s Outpost); and best online advertising, single ad, animated, Roger Sievers and Findlay (JJ’s Outpost).
Second place finishes included best editorial special section (Operation Farewell); and best advertising sales tool, Bev Rodriguez, Findlay, Monette and Conway (Advertising opportunities).
Third place finishes included best editorial special section (2009 Graduation Keepsake edition); best Web special project, Jackie Grumish (2009 St. Croix County Fair); best ad series idea, Findlay and Cheri Sarsland (Gregory’s Gift of Hope); and best use of art services, Olson and Findlay (Countryside Vet).
Gov. Jim Doyle addressed a group of about 100 people for 45 minutes at the conference’s opening Friday morning. Doyle reflected on his six years in office and thanked newspaper people for “all that you contribute to the culture and political life in Wisconsin” and for helping people sort out society’s complexities by providing edited information.
Doyle called attention to the rumors of an extramarital affair by the New York governor which have been spread exclusively through blogs and Web sites.
“The New York Times hasn’t written a word,” yet the allegation “has spread on the Internet without any filter at all,” he said.
“The example fascinates me (in that) it demonstrates what a good newspaper does -- verify facts,” Doyle said.
The governor described the current economic climate as “a very difficult time in the nation’s and state’s history. By some measures, it’s the most difficult since the Great Depression.”
“If my parents were here, they’d look at the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, the food we eat and they wouldn’t see the comparison,” but it remains difficult for many people.
Instead of earning overtime pay, many are working only half-time. They may have lost a job but found another which pays considerably less. Many are anxious about what paths their lives will take next week or next month, he said.
Wisconsin may not have experienced the direct effects of the meltdown of financial firms like Bear Stearns in September 2008, that “brought our economy to the very edge of cataclysm, we’re not a state with multi-zillion dollar banking firms leveraged to the hilt.” But by April 2009, unemployment had risen to 9.5 percent -- the steepest increase since the Great Depression.
Doyle said he’s determined to help those who are hurting by extending unemployment benefits, beefing up “food security” programs and do everything possible to “not lose momentum with those things that are really working in Wisconsin.”
“It’s critical that we maintain a good educational system,” said Doyle. “You can’t tell a second-grader to come back when the economy is better.”
He stated it was important for Wisconsin to stay focused on reducing its overall tax burden on those who live here. When he took office, Wisconsin ranked fourth nationally.
“My goal was to get us out of the top 10 in the country. Today, Wisconsin ranks 15th. It’s improved six consecutive years,” he said.
Doyle continues to champion passage of Constitutional amendment that will allow lawmakers to navigate around the state’s uniformity clause that requires all property be equally taxed -- or credited. Passage of the amendment would permit relief toward only primary residences, while secondary properties would not qualify.
Wisconsin currently leads the nation in manufacturing, in part, because of the downturn of the auto industry in traditional manufacturing states. By helping strengthen traditional sectors like agriculture and forestry, and providing good workforce training, the state will be better positioned to capitalize on increased consumer demand when the economy rebounds.
Because Wisconsin spends $16 billion for coal, petroleum and natural gas, Doyle is convinced the state should invest heavily in green and renewable energy to create jobs and save money. He cited some 300 firms in the state now make components for wind turbines.
Doyle took a political poke at Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee who’ve already indicated they’ll vote “no” on acceptance of a $823 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant to create passenger rail service between Milwaukee, Madison and eventually, the Twin Cities.
“We are not going to turn down the money. It’s this kind of mentality -- because I want it and President Obama wants it -- unfortunately, that’s sort of infected our politics these last few years.”
A newspaper publisher asked Doyle’s position on altering public access to on-line court records. Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, has proposed changing the system to allow public access only to those cases where a conviction has been entered.
Doyle said he favors some change, although conceded that Schneider’s bill goes too far.
When he was a prosecutor, Doyle said his office was very careful about releasing records about someone’s criminal history.
“We need some kind of an escape valve for the innocent person,” such as empowering judges to order records expunged.
Wisconsin’s Circuit Court Access site gets up to 5 million visits daily. Charges and civil actions appear as soon as they’re entered in the system.
Schneider argues that the mere appearance of someone’s name on the database carries a connotation of guilt and can ruin reputations, impede job searches and threaten approval for rentals and mortgages.
Andrew Johnson, publisher of the Mayville News, was installed as WNA president for 2010, succeeding Tom Schultz, editor at the Watertown Daily Times. First vice-president is Pieter Graskaamp, publisher at the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and New Richmond News publisher Steve Dzubay was elected as second vice-president.