I grew up in Wisconsin…I’m a Milwaukee native but spent most of my life in Green Bay. I’m a diehard Green Bay Packers fan. I spent my first two years as a working journalist at the CBS affiliate in Wausau. I have relatives and good friends all over the state. Never in my life would I have dreamed of covering a story like what we’ve seen unfold in Madison over the past month: a dramatic push by a new governor to balance a state budget deficit, a bill that reverses 50 years of history making sure public workers are treated fairly, a month’s worth of protests, state lawmakers fleeing in order to stall a vote, then a dramatic turn of events where lawmakers end up making maneuvers to pass the bill anyway. It’s all been an incredible unfolding of events over the past month.
I think its safe to say interest in this story has spread far and wide. News outlets in neighboring states and across the country have joined their Wisconsin reporter colleagues in covering these events. Wisconsin is interesting in the fact that it has small, medium, and large markets (at least for TV), so journalists of every skill set and experience level are taking part in covering this historic story.
I won’t offer any personal opinions on what has already happened or what I think should happen from here on out. I will just say that I am proud of my fellow journalists from across Wisconsin and neighboring states for the time, sweat, and effort you’ve put into covering this story. Dealing with state budget issues aren’t easy, but this series of events has given us a unique look at what could happen in other states as they grapple with similar issues.
At the upcoming Midwest Journalism Conference/SPJ Region 6 conference, you can hear journalists who’ve been covering the political drama and fallout in Wisconsin; it’s a special panel we’ve added to our Saturday, April 9th lineup; taking place at 1:15 p.m. You can register online for the conference by clicking here.
Until next time,
SPJ Region 6 Director