The Capital Times to end as a daily; Evjue spins in grave
Post by Jesse Russell on 2/7/2008 12:00pm
I'm trying to process this press release that seems to be saying that after 100 years The Capital Times is ceasing existence (but giving birth to something new under the old name). Of the two dailies in Madison I had the most respect for The Capital Times for sticking to their guns and remaining dedicated to hard news first. Essentially, the Cap Times is now becoming two weeklies. The Wednesday edition will be dedicated to "news and opinion" and the Thursday edition will be inserted in the Wisconsin State Journal and be dedicated to "weekly arts, entertainment and culture." I'll wait until I see it to cast final judgment, but it sounds like Capital Newspapers is about to repeat the same mistakes they made with Post and coreweekly (note: TCT is published by Capital Newspapers which is 50 percent owned by Lee Enterprises. Lee overseas the WSJ and The Capital Times Company oversees TCT.).
On that note, I have faith in John Nichols who will be associate editor of the opinion side of the new paper. Hopefully, Nichols will take what he has learned working with The Nation and put a Madison flair on it in the new publication.
As for circulation, the press release spins the publication numbers saying that the paper will go from a circulation of more than 17,000 to around 80,000. That isn't exactly accurate. By going from six days to one cuts circulation by more than 20,000. That means less content and less news for Madison. The death date for The Capital Times is April 25.
Full release below:
The Capital Times Will Expand Online and Publish Two Weekly Tabloid Editions with Greater Circulation
MADISON, Wis (Feb. 7, 2008) Beginning this spring, The Capital Times will dramatically enhance its Internet site, www.captimes.com, and alter its print cycle to reflect the changing habits of its afternoon newspaper readers.
Publisher Clayton Frink said The Capital Times online site will feature increased volume, depth and timeliness of news, opinion and other information. He said the printed edition of the newspaper will expand its distribution by about five times and switch from six-day publication to two weekly tabloid-size editions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Capital Times has been a progressive media voice in Madison for 90 years, and this move allows us to preserve that legacy and, in fact, reach far more people than ever before,Ã¢â‚¬Â Frink said.
Beginning April 30, the news and opinion edition of The Capital Times will be published on Wednesdays. It will be distributed with home delivered Wisconsin State Journal subscriptions throughout and just beyond Dane County and offered free throughout the Madison area in newspaper racks. It will offer in-depth news and public affairs stories as well as the newspaperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s highly regarded opinion and commentary content, Frink said.
The Capital Times will also produce a weekly arts, entertainment and culture section that will be distributed on Thursdays with the Wisconsin State Journal and offered free in newspaper racks in the Madison area. It will replace the current Rhythm publication, which is co-produced with the State Journal and appears in both newspapers.
With its new distribution, The Capital Times will have a circulation of more than 80,000. Current circulation is 17,072. The date of final daily publication is April 25.
The changes will result in a smaller workforce in The Capital Times newsroom and in other areas of Capital Newspapers though the size of the change has not been finalized. A voluntary separation program for employees will be part of the transition.
Subscribers of The Capital Times will receive a letter in coming weeks with information about their account.
It was also announced that Paul Fanlund will become editor of The Capital Times, effective immediately, having been executive editor since August 2006. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We believe our plan to combine an outstanding news and information web site with in-depth, magazine-style weekly tabloids is on the mark for the futureÃ¢â‚¬Â Fanlund said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This move is vital to ensuring the long-term relevance of the Cap Times.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Fanlund assumes the role in which Dave Zweifel has served since 1983. The 67-year-old Zweifel announced he will assume the new title of editor emeritus. He will continue to write his regular columns for the newspaperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s website and Wednesday edition and oversee the paperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s opinion content with Associate Editor John Nichols.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our founder, William T. Evjue, had to make many tough decisions to ensure The Capital Times success through the years he ran the newspaper,Ã¢â‚¬Â Zweifel said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just as he had to deal with the changing technology of his day, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re making these changes to ensure that his vision of Wisconsin progressivism and his insistence that a newspaper must champion truth and justice for all the people will continue far into the future.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As an afternoon newspaper, The Capital Times circulation had reached its peak in 1966. Publishing for afternoon distribution was once a coveted position in newspapering, but almost all p.m. newspapers in two-newspaper markets have disappeared over the past two decades.
The Capital Times was created in 1917 by the late William T. Evjue as a progressive media voice and that tradition continues today. He founded the paper at the height of World War I and in the early years his newspaper survived several advertising boycotts to become the dominant paper in the Madison area.
In 1948, Evjue reached an agreement with Lee Enterprises, the owners of the Wisconsin State Journal, to form a new corporation that was then named Madison Newspapers, Inc. Although the agreement combined the advertising, circulation and production departments of the newspapers, it ensured two completely independent newsrooms. Because there was now just one press, The Capital Times elected to continue in the afternoon while the State Journal took the morning field and the Sunday newspaper.
The Capital Times Co. and Lee Enterprises continue to each own 50 percent of what today is known as Capital Newspapers, which in addition to publishing The Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal, owns the Portage Daily Register, Baraboo News-Republic, Beaver Dam Citizen and several weeklies and shoppers in south central Wisconsin.
When Evjue died in 1970, his will directed that the William T. Evjue Charitable Trust hold his controlling stock in The Capital Times and that the proceeds be given to The Evjue Foundation, which he established several years before his death. Today, the foundation annually contributes more than $2 million to local cultural, educational and non-profit community projects and will continue to do so.
Jesse was born and raised in Connecticut, began blogging in 1997, and moved to Madison in 2003. In 2005, he co-founded dane101 along with Kristian Knutson and Shane Wealti. In addition to helping nearly a dozen contributors run this website he's helped launch various events in the city including What's Your Damage?!, the MadPubQuiz of Awesomeness, the Fire Ball Masquerade, Dane101's Freakin' Halloweekend, and more.