August 2, 2008

Journal-Sentinel shutting down its Racine section

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is ending its Racine section that ran in Sunday papers.

The paper confirmed the move this week. The last section is apparently scheduled to run next Sunday.

While great news for The Journal Times, which was running scared from the J-S for years, it's a sad blow for news in our community. It means less coverage, less exposure and less competition for our entrenched daily at a time when it needs more competition to get its act together.

The end of the Racine section puts a period on the J-S's ambitious plans to take over Racine County. At one time, the Milwaukee paper was considering a daily Racine section with a staff in its Sturtevant bureau comparable to the JT's. There were actually days when the J-S had more reporters on the ground than Racine's paper, which was leaving positions dark to try and meet Lee Enterprises' budget figures.

The heyday of the Racine section came around 2001 and 2002, when Tom Kertscher was the lead reporter in the office. He consistently pounded the JT with great reporting, and left the JT veteran scratching their heads on how he got his stories.

Here's a story as to why we need competition. Back around 2002, the JT's ace reporter found out a police officer was caught by the Police and Fire Commission (literally caught with their own eyes) sleeping in his car. The reporter found out about the story, but didn't write about it because he was friends with people in the department and didn't want to upset people.

After a couple of weeks, the J-S got word and ran the story, which went national. The JT ended up looking foolish.

Competition in the news business insures against cozy relationships affecting coverage. Racine has less competition now, which means the JT has less to worry about. That's not a good thing.

9 comments:

  1. StopthemadnessNOW8/02/2008 8:21 AM

    This is a damn shame but not unexpected. The economics of the dead-trees-on-paper news industry are absolutely terrible. And, as you correctly point out, the public are the losers.

    The hope in all of this is in online alternatives, such as yours. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

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  2. It wouldn't be first time the JT looked foolish and it certainly won't be the last.

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  3. A real shame. I agree.... Much of the real news is now left to online competition. I hope they don't stop covering Racine despite not publishing an individual section.

    I've said it before; the Journal Times has really gone downhill. You can peruse through the paper and find only a few minutes of worthwhile reading. A real shame for the city.

    We don't get accurate figures on crime, don't hear about events until they are over, and the bias of their politics makes one skeptical of everything you read.

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  4. Like I keep saying the old dead tree media is dead and gone.
    I would expect the J-T to become a weekly print within 3 years and do most of their "reporting" on line
    With respect the Post is starting to drift off to between your being The voice for every anti Ryan/Voss rant
    Lock step with J Wax's ideas.
    Come on Post lets get back to bringing us the news that the J-T will not cover.
    Where you not the guys who told us about Point Blue

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  5. downtown_racine8/03/2008 3:39 PM

    Atleast Racine has the Racine Post which has many good reporters with good connections.

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  6. Actually the first word of trouble with Pointe Blue came from a well connected blogger who is rarely seen these days.

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  7. Many? Does two part-time reporters equal many?

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  8. Two who pay attention and don't mind controversy is far more than "many" who are sitting around with their thumbs up their . . .

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  9. L8ManChecker8/07/2008 10:19 AM

    Reminds me of part from Carl Haaisen's book Basket Case .

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