As a longtime toiler in the inky fields of newspapering — almost my entire adult life — I’ve watched a corporation gobble up a once bright and shining example of a daily newspaper and spit it out in shreds.
I’ve seen the aforementioned corporation swallow as many newspapers as it could and turn them into belt-tightening, bottom-line operations that are ghosts of their former selves, led by people who believe TV-like news is something to aspire to for today’s readers with short attention spans.
I’ve seen good family newspapers consumed by newspaper corporations that seemed more concerned about satisfying shareholders with returns than doing good old-fashioned newspapering.
I’ve seen publications I once read or worked for fold. The Honolulu Advertiser is the first that comes to mind.
I’ve seen, for years now, headlines proclaim the death of newspapers in this digital age.
Yet in our not-too-distant past, a mark of progress and civility in any new territory was the appearance of a newspaper. The best of them served not only as information providers, but as advocates for the community they represented, and they did that without conducting reader forums and surveys and market studies because they were part of the community. A reader’s forum is the mark of a newspaper that has lost its way in its own community.
So, to see a newspaper steeped in its community these days is something to behold. That is why I was so happy to be hired as editor of the Peninsula Pulse back in April of 2013. That it should come with a glossy magazine, this very Door County Living, was a big bonus.
When we decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Pulse in this largest issue of Door County Living, I was happy to tell the story of two liberal arts grads who turned their love for Door County into a newspaper the summer of 1996 — the fortuitous summer of Hale-Bopp, a comet that lingered for 18 months in our skies and first became visible to the naked eye in May 1996, just as the Peninsula Pulse first became visible to the people of Door County with the first issue on May 24, 1996.
Because of the scope of this story, we are breaking it into three distinct parts that will run in the remaining issues of the 2016 Door County Living.
This first chapter of the Peninsula Pulse story comes with a sidebar on the colorful newspaper history of Door County. We hope you enjoy this look at our sister publication’s 20th anniversary, as well as the wide range of other stories that grace these pages.
Have a great summer! Catch you in the fall!