Janesville31.4°

Led by GM, big news keeps flowing

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Scott Angus
June 11, 2008

News ebbs and flows. If you stay in this business long enough, you see the cycles over and over.

In Janesville, the news has been flowing like crazy lately. From a newspaper’s standpoint, that’s good. Unfortunately, much of the news has been far from positive.

GM’s announcement last week that it would close its Janesville plant by the end of 2010 was among the biggest news events I can remember. We’ve feared it for years. We hoped it wouldn’t happen. But when it did, the Gazette staff was ready, and we’ve been pumping out stories ever since.

Some people might be growing tired of the continuing flow of GM stories. That’s understandable, and they will slow to a trickle soon. But this story will affect everybody in our core readership area, and we want to address as many concerns and questions as possible.

I have to tip my editor’s hat to Business Editor Jim Leute in all of our coverage. Jim has become an expert on GM —locally and beyond—and his stories have provided the backbone of our coverage throughout the last 10 days. Mike DuPre’, who covered GM for many years and also wrote the definitive history of Janesville in “Century of Stories” in 2000, also has been invaluable. His Day 1 piece on the history of GM in Janesville was a tremendous complement to our news stories and offered something that no other media could touch.

Janesville was ground zero in the United States for coverage of GM’s announcement. TV and print reporters flocked here from all over the country, and our fair city was featured on all of the network newscasts. But if I do say so myself, most of that coverage was shallow. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal and the Madison TV stations did well, but the rest lacked depth and understanding.

And all of the other media were in and out in a day or two. As you would expect, we provided the best, most complete coverage from the beginning, and we’ll stick with this story and continue to provide appropriate angles as we recognize them or work them into our schedule.

We also welcome your ideas. Let us know if you think we missed something or didn’t offer enough balance or perspective. We’re always looking for the human angle on how this is affecting people. It’s a story that will continue to unfold as GM makes more definitive decisions and announcements about the end of the Janesville plant.

Before this news, there was GM’s announcement that it would end second-shift production here. Before that, we had Dean Health System and St. Mary’s announcing they will build a hospital in Janesville. Since the latest GM news, we’ve had flooding and now the biodiesel plant in Evansville going belly up.

Those stories and many more have made for lively newspapers and Web pages over the last few months. We’d prefer more positive news in the mix, but we’ll cover whatever comes at us.

And, as always, we welcome your feedback and ideas.



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