Sunday, January 25, 2009

Newspapers are dying

Okay, the headline is not anything surprising. In the past year, several papers in Wisconsin have undergone extensive changes, such as the Capital Times (online only now) and the Superior Daily Telegram (now just publishing twice a week).

Chicken or the egg conundrum: Was the lack of revenue for papers leading to shoddy reporting, or was shoddy reporting leading to lack of revenue?

One paper that has done a great job over these tough times is the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. They cover Madison better than the Wisconsin State Journal or Cap Times does combined. Seriously! You'll find more stories on Madison business, politics, etc. in the MJS than in either the WSJ or TCT.

Why are these Madison papers so lazy? I know for a fact they get several major announcements in the form of press releases every now and then, and they never write about the subject, while the MJS does.

Plus, the MJS still does a lot of in-depth reporting. Read this column about the Journal-Sentinel's efforts to remain a strong publication.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Still Hate Nail's Tails

Doug Moe of the Wisconsin State Journal wrote a column the other day about Donald Lipski, the sculptor who created the hideous obelisk outside Camp Randall Stadium called "Nail's Tails." Lipski apparently created another ugly monstrosity for the spring training home of the Indians and Reds.

Why do people keep commissioning him to do more art? It's mind boggling. He even created a bouquet of bathtubs for a museum in Houston. Not surprisingly, that also was poorly received.

I know many people within the UW athletic department that detest Nail's Tails (all will remain anonymous). I remember at the press conference for its unveiling a few years ago, and the look on the faces of the senior staff was that of embarrassment rather than pride. Many bystanders were simply incredulous of this phallic statue that cost $200,000 (state law that it had to be bought).

I'm still hoping that some drunk college students (either from UW or a rival Big Ten school) try to steal it. I doubt anyone would put up a fight.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Still Hoping for Rail

Today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported: "Federal economic stimulus money could be used to build a Midwestern high-speed passenger rail system that would link Chicago to Minneapolis with stops at Milwaukee, Madison and even Green Bay, Gov. Jim Doyle told Milwaukee business leaders."

I am and have been an ardent supporter of this idea, but my optimism is not high. Look at Milwaukee: the city was granted $289 million 17 years ago for public transit but still hasn't done anything with it.

What's funny is that we (e.g. Dane County, Milwaukee County) can't even create a referendum to decide whether or not to create a Regional Transit Authority. So at best, we're still two steps away (re: years) from even working on any rail plans.

What combination of traffic, tolls, gas prices and drunk drivers will it take for people to share this desire?