Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Biting the hand that feeds me

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

July 28th is another smallish post-debacle day for Milwaukee job holders.  Monday was the deadline for the latest batch of Journal Sentinel staffers to turn in their buyout offers. Unless enough take the bait, layoffs are likely to follow.

Whether we’ll hear anything substantial about that is not clear, but read your paper this morning to make sure your favorite reporter is still around.

I don’t think it’s any secret that I have “real” journalist friends. So I'm biased. Not only have I seen them suffer as the newspaper contracts and as the paper’s management and direction have gotten weaker. I have another more selfish concern: every time I apply for a public relations job, I'm competing with fine journalists who'd rather be writing for newspapers.

And a selfish concern for all of us: losing the best journalists (and you can argue that the experienced ones—the Joanne Weintraubs and the Stu Carlsons-- are often the best ones) makes the paper dull reading. And sometimes, unreliable: green writers need careful watering and pruning to grow.

Newspapers are committing slow suicide by starvation. When revenue from employment ads dropped, newspapers might have found ways to enhance advertising value. Instead, the Journal Sentinel decided to bury the three thin pages of jobs behind the ads for Frogs Snakes Scorpions Lizards Turtles Spiders at SEWERfest. . .

One bright spot in the anorexic paper has been a stronger showing for investigative reporting. Daniel Bice’s No Quarter column now appears on the front page. Though it’s a mystery beyond my ken why he prefers covering the theft of Doug LaFollette’s good web name by porn pirates to the deeply juicy story of betrayal unfolding in the Skylight Opera Theatre.

A few months ago I’d have said that local news coverage also was stronger. Now, with the folding of the Waukesha unit and Bice's preference for LaFollette over Cabot, I’m not so sure.

Goodbye and thanks to those who’ve served us well by telling us what’s happening in our world.

And as to getting more than you pay for, readers, good luck with that continuing.

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