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Journal Sentinel Moves Away From Local City News Coverage

by Gretchen Schuldt

Story Hill residents perusing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel can read about a dog park proposed for Washington County, but not about the off-leash dog park earlier suggested for Doyne Park next door. Riverwest residents can read about a planned condominium development for Cedarburg, but not about the condos Andy Busalacchi is building in the middle of their neighborhood. So, why can’t we read about what’s happening in our own neighborhoods? Basically, it’s all about Racine County, where the paper is pursuing new customers. The Journal Sentinel, which had separate editions for Waukesha County and the Ozaukee-Washington area, wanted to “find a way to get Racine County news into the newspaper on a daily basis,” said Bruce Gill, the paper’s senior editor for suburban news. To do that, he said, changes had to be made because there is a limit to the number of different newspaper editions that can be printed and delivered each night and morning. The Oz-Wash was scrapped. The Milwaukee-oriented Metro edition was reworked to include Oz-Wash news for folks living north of I-94, and Racine County news for those living south of I-94. Story Hill, Riverwest, East Side, Harambee, and many other neighborhoods get Ozaukee-Washington news Tuesday through Friday. “The result of this whole thing is we don’t have ‘Neighbors’ any more,” said Gill, referring to the old weekly roundup of suburban news. More stories about Milwaukee County suburbs are appearing on a daily basis, instead of being relegated to the Thursday Neighbors page, he said. Gill said Milwaukee residents may get more news about Ozaukee County neighborhoods than about their own because Milwaukee is a much bigger place and the nature of news is different. What might be important in an Ozaukee County community would not be as significant in a city the size of Milwaukee, he said. In addition, he said, while Milwaukee residents might not give a hoot about Cedarburg news, Cedarburg residents might not give a hoot about the Milwaukee news they are reading in the newspaper, either, he said. Some readers will be unhappy “wherever you draw the line, and you have to draw it somewhere,” he said. The paper tries to present a smorgasbord of news “and hope that people find the news that interests them,” he said. Gill said there has been no deliberate decline in Milwaukee news. The mayor’s race is hot right now and has been covered well, he said. There are not lots of leftover stories each day the paper can’t fit in. “If reporters supply them, they’re getting in the paper,” he said. The Journal Sentinel has received some calls about the suburban news in the Milwaukee editions, he said. Most callers want to know what is happening, and understand when it is explained, he said. “I must say, I’m not being inundated with calls,” Gill said. Full disclosure: Bruce Gill is the boss of the author’s husband. Gretchen Schuldt is the editor of the Story Hill Newsletter, and webmaster for the Story Hill Neighborhood Association Website. Do you have an opinion on Journal Sentinel coverage of Milwaukee issues or the inclusion of Ozaukee County-Washington County and Racine County news in the Milwaukee edition? Bruce Gill can be reached at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, P.O. Box 661, Milwaukee, WI 53201; at 224-2318; or .
by Gretchen Schuldt