There are a lot of exciting things happening here at the Pulse.
One of those things I can’t even talk about – though we’ve known about it for five months – because it’s embargoed until June, when the Wisconsin Newspaper Association will hold this year’s Better Newspaper Awards banquet. Stay tuned for that.
The other exciting news can be summed up in the headline of this column. You may not have seen a headline like that for a long time, if ever. You may have read plenty about remote hedge funds buying up newspapers and milking them dry for profits. You probably know a few newspapers that no longer exist, or exist in name only, and have felt the black holes that their absence has gut-punched into their communities.
I’ve been working in newspapers for more than 20 years now, and I’ve seen them quickly disemboweled. I’ve also seen them dismantled slowly, yet so steadily that neither the employees nor the communities they served knew they were in hot water until they boiled to death.
Neither of those things is happening here.
The Peninsula Pulse is growing, and the local owners – David Eliot and Myles Dannhausen Jr. – are investing back into the communities the Pulse serves by hiring two new reporters.
That almost never happens these days. Reporters are the employees who create a newspaper’s value for readers and advertisers – I will always strongly maintain – and yet reporters are generally the first to be cut. Their remaining colleagues are then deserted, scrambling to cover beats too large for one human. If the owners don’t cut you out, they burn you out.
That’s not happening here. We’ve hired a veteran reporter, Kevin Boneske, a recent victim of cuts at the Press Times in Green Bay. Kevin has worked at papers around the state, including in the Door/Kewaunee county region during his years with Bay Publications. He’ll allow us to extend our coverage from the City of Sturgeon Bay south. He also has experience as a sports reporter and editor, so he’ll be picking up some coverage for area high schools.
We’ve also hired Sam Watson. She’ll graduate at the end of May from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She served in an editorial leadership position at her student newspaper and gained some solid clips. When it came time for her to cast her net for jobs, she already knew she didn’t want to work in a large city.
“I want a job in a community I can truly connect to, and I want to serve that community with balanced, accessible reporting,” Watson wrote in her cover letter applying for the position.
Kevin grew up in Sturgeon Bay and already owned a home here, so his entry was seamless. Sam, on the other hand, is facing what other new hires are no doubt learning all over Door County: There’s little to no housing to be had. (So this is also a shameless plug for anyone who has a lead on a two-bedroom apartment beginning in June.)
It’s beyond exciting to hire two new reporters who can help us serve our communities better than ever before. But it’s also gratifying to hire someone who has dedicated his career to journalism, and another who’s just starting out who will help to shape journalism’s future.
We’re thrilled to have them both. Say hello if you see them around.