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Wednesday 18 October 2017
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The End of a Newspaper

By Ben Rodgers 

There comes a time late at night when the press stops, the ink dries, and the papers are bundled and sent out for delivery. What was printed on those pages becomes etched down in history as the news.

It’s a time honored tradition. One that anyone who has ever worked for a newspaper finds cathartic.

Out with the old and in with the new. It continues on a loop, story after story, edition after edition. It’s a tradition as old as the First Amendment.

I write this with a heavy heart, but unfortunately that tradition has come to an end for The Chilton Times Journal.

Newspapers have been an institution in this country since it started. The newspaper in Chilton was one of the oldest in Wisconsin.

However, even institutions have to pay the bills. The sad truth is the paper was no longer profitable.

But it doesn’t mean we never accomplished great things.

I say we in this instance as in you and I. I am a firm believer that a newspaper is only as good as the community it serves.

If you picked up the paper in the past eight months, it’s easy to see strides we made recently in delivering a great news product.

Meeting coverage was more in-depth, the paper tackled more local issues, and expanded what was offered on the pages. We grew our social media presence and have engaged more people with stories we thought were worth telling.

While the end of the line may come as a surprise to you. It doesn’t to me.

As a newspaperman with only six short years in the profession, the writing has been on the wall all over the country.

Papers that belong to bigger companies are losing control over their pages each and every day.

Designing your own pages is even becoming a thing of the past as big media corporations are looking to cut costs to keep going.

It’s not uncommon to see positions emptied and never refilled. Those reporters left are being asked to do more and more. But they gladly oblige because they know it’s a cutthroat business. 

Sadly these are the realizations we choose to work under every day. I hope to find work again at a newspaper, knowing full well the challenges we face.

It’s not a well-paying profession, but it’s hard to think of a one that’s nobler.

Ask any reporter why they got into the business and chances are you will get the same answer. Newspapers want you to be informed. Newspapers feel bound to that duty. It’s literally why reporters wake up in the morning. To get you the news.   

Chilton is a wonderful place, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. There are so many inspiring people with stories to tell. There’s also a great amount of local government that requires the watchful eye of the press.

I sincerely hope Chilton continues to get the coverage it needs to thrive. But again in this day and age, I can’t promise that.

I sincerely thank you for your readership, all the way to the end.




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