Eau Claire Leader Telegram. May 13, 2021.

Editorial: Why write editorials?

Every now and then we step back in our editorials and try to explain why we take some of the approaches we do on this page. We hope it helps people understand a little bit about how newspapers work.

Careful readers of our editorials will notice that it’s rare that we state what we view as a problem and leave it at that. We try to offer a solution, or what we think a starting point can be. That’s by design. We don’t believe editorials should just be platforms from which to attack. They need to be more.

One of the basic questions we try to ask when we consider what subjects we should raise is “What are we adding to the conversation?” There have been times we’ve strongly considered weighing in on a subject, only to realize after a few minutes’ discussion that we’d be piling on more than contributing. That’s not something we want to do. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to make sure your editorials bring new thoughts or considerations. They can’t just be a chance to sound off on whatever the day’s debate is.

In fact, that really shouldn’t be the most common editorial. The stereotype of a newspaper editorial is a piece that goes on the attack, criticizing a person or institution in harsh terms. Sometimes that’s necessary. But those are the exception.

There are several fundamental types you’ll see on our pages and in other newspapers. Critiques certainly have their place, but who wants to listen to someone who’s complaining all the time? If you’re going to criticize, try to offer a solution.

The more common type of editorial for us is an attempt to explain an issue and offer our position on it. That’s what this is. Those editorials aim to get readers to consider things in a different way than they have before. Sometimes it’s an obscure issue that needs to be the subject of more attention. Other times it’s a different take on a well-known subject. All of those editorials rely on reason and persuasion, not attacking.

Other editorials seek to praise people or groups for their actions. We did one a little while back about the end of the spring football season and why we’re proud of area students. They’re the opposite of a critical editorial and, in a lot of cases, they’re more fun to write.

Of course, there’s always the question of why we write editorials at all. It’s a fair question. Our answer comes down to the fact we believe it’s our responsibility to do so.

Newspapers occupy an interesting space in communities. When we’re at a meeting or an event, it’s most often something that would also be open to the public. We’re there as an extension of the public, making information about events available to people who were not able to attend.

As we do that, we gather a lot of information. We’re focused on events and decisions in a way most people simply don’t have time to be. And there are times that information gives us an insight into what’s happening or what should be happening. In those cases we feel a responsibility to speak up.

At other times it’s important that people or groups be put in the spotlight so they can be recognized. It’s an effort to ensure that people who deserve a moment in the sun get it, at least to the extent we can do so.

Editorials are, ultimately, the voice of the paper. And we believe we have a responsibility to use that voice carefully, to build up the Chippewa Valley. That’s what our editorials are designed to do, even the critical ones. In those cases we’re trying to rectify a problem, and that’s why we try so hard to make sure those editorials propose a solution.

We hope that knowing why we write these editorials the way we do helps our readers gain insight into why we believe they’re worth putting in front of you every edition. Newspapers are slowly learning that they need to pull back the curtain sometimes and let people know how they operate. That’s what this editorial was aimed at.


Kenosha News. May 17, 2021.

Editorial: Work search requirement must be reinstated

Throughout the state and beyond there is a shortage of workers. It’s not just restaurants and retail, it’s also manufacturing and other higher paying jobs.

Some places have had to shut down operations at least one day a week because of the shortage.

There are jobs out there for anyone who is looking.

Unfortunately one problem at least in Wisconsin is that currently those on unemployment are not required to be looking for work because of a state Department of Workforce Development emergency coronavirus rule.

During the height of coronavirus, the spring and even summer of 2020, that made sense. At that time everything shut down and there weren’t jobs out there.

Now is a different story. Coronavirus vaccinations are widespread in Wisconsin and businesses are safely reopening.

The problem now is a shortage of workers and Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, is right to have his committee change the rule to reinstate the job search requirement as soon as this month – before Memorial Day.

The job search waiver is currently set to expire July 10, but that is too late. Summer tourism destinations need workers now so they can be fully trained by July 4. They cannot start hiring summer workers in July.

Gov. Tony Evers, said he doesn’t support the rule change now. But he did confirm that this is a rule change, not legislative action that he is able to veto.

The reality is that there are multiple reasons why there is a worker shortage at employers around the state. Child care, wages, pandemic career changes, unemployment and pent-up demand at tourism destinations all play a role.

The extra $300 per week unemployment payments from the federal government is also undoubtedly a factor. Reinstating the job search requirement will help. In addition, Wisconsin should explore possibly following Montana’s lead eliminating the extra $300 per week, which multiple states have now announced they are working to do.

In addition, instead of giving people the extra $300 per week for being unemployed, Montana plans to start a new program where Montanans who were previously unemployed will receive a $1,200 return-to-work bonus if they rejoin the labor force and maintain steady employment for at least one month.

That is something worth looking at: paying people to work, instead of paying them not to work.


Racine Journal Times. May 19, 2021.

Editorial: A rare survivor in state budget feud

The unrelenting feud between Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Republican-controlled state Legislature was in full bloom this month as lawmakers scrapped nearly 400 items from Evers’ proposed budget and decided to start from scratch using the current budget as a base.

Were there any survivors? Why, yes, there was at least one notable exception to the budget carnage: a $100 million state venture capital fund.

In a rare case of agreement, Evers’ proposal for a “fund of funds” to bring in outside investment to the state to support local businesses.

Evers’ proposal had the endorsement of eight former secretaries of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. — five who had been appointed by Republican governors and three by Democratic governors.

It even got some qualified support from assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R- Rochester, who said he “supported legislation in previous sessions that invested state dollars to increase venture capital available to Wisconsin companies. But before more public funding is put in I’d like to see some concrete results from past investments.”

The state already promotes venture capital with its Badger Fund, a $61 million fund that has distributed $20 million to five different funds to invest in companies. About $7.5 million of that has been paired with $24.5 million in private funding to support 24 businesses, according to USA Today reports.

The new fund of funds would follow that model. WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said the fund “would allow Wisconsin entrepreneurs to secure needed next-step financing from in-state course so they don’t have to look to, or move to, the coasts for capital.”

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, said other close-by states have such programs – including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. “When these companies do land, they produce a lot of revenue, a lot of jobs, a lot of salary and a lot of tax revenue.”

That, of course, would be good for the entire State of Wisconsin. Evers and Vos apparently see eye to eye on that.

Now, if only such agreement could spread to other parts of the budget.