There are a lot of elements to a daily newspaper. News. Comics. Sports. Advice columns. And the Opinion page.
Today, we welcome back a part of The Gazette’s Opinion Page that’s been missing for more than a year. We’re announcing the seating of a new eight-member Editorial Board and the coming return, in September, of locally written editorials.
Until mid-2021, The Gazette regularly published locally written editorials on its Opinion Page. They were approved by an Editorial Board that met to debate and choose the topics to be addressed. Editorial Board meetings—and the local opinion pieces the group produced—became intermittent in 2020, and completely paused in mid-2021.
Other kinds of Opinion Page content has since continued to be published, including letters to the editor, political cartoons, guest editorials from other newspapers, and local and syndicated columns. Going forward, those will remain in the mix, while we add local editorials back in.
The newspaper’s leadership believes that, especially in a city the size of Janesville, local editorials are an important voice for local government accountability, economic progress and a unified community vision.
The Editorial Board will meet monthly. It includes five Gazette staff members and three community members. Community members will serve for six months and then rotate off. To begin with, the newspaper will produce one local editorial a week.
Questions about the Editorial Board or The Gazette’s Opinion Page can be directed to Managing Editor Karyn Saemann at email@example.com.
Members of the Gazette Editorial Board include:
Orestes Baez is the regional president of Adams Publishing Group of Southern Wisconsin and publisher of The Gazette. He was hired in August 2020, after working as the regional vice president for a chain of Gatehouse/Gannett-owned local newspapers in Michigan. APG’s Southern Wisconsin Group includes more than a dozen weekly and daily newspapers, including The Gazette, the Beloit Daily News, the Watertown Daily Times, the Daily Jefferson County Union, the Hometown News Group of weekly papers, and the commercial printing plant that APG operates in Janesville. He is a Janesville resident and serves on several boards in the local community.
Jim Ferolie is the regional executive editor of Adams Publishing Group of Southern Wisconsin. A Rockford native, he has spent more than 25 years in journalism, including 15 years as editor of community weekly newspapers in the Madison area. Ferolie now oversees the editorial teams for 15 newspapers across the state of Wisconsin and lives in Verona with his wife, Shari, and their son. A 1994 University of Arizona graduate, Ferolie spent 13 years in Arizona, eventually relocating to Oregon and then working for the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, the Macomb (Illinois) Eagle and the Verona Press. In 2010, he was named team leader for Unified Newspaper Group, which included the Oregon Observer, Stoughton Courier Hub and three weeklies, plus the Fitchburg Star website. He was named APG’s regional executive editor in November 2021.
Karyn Saemann is the managing editor of The Gazette. She has worked for nearly 30 years in the newspaper industry, including as a reporter and editor at the Beloit Daily News, Daily Jefferson County Union and The Capital Times.
She is a 1993 graduate of UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Before being hired in May to lead The Gazette’s newsroom, she spent five years with Adams Publishing Group as a managing editor for Hometown News Group. Saemann has also worked in book publishing and is a published author with the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. She and her husband, Eric, live in Deerfield. They have two children, ages 14 and 19. Karyn is actively involved in Deerfield as a 4-H leader, farmers market board member and in many other volunteer roles and looks forward to similarly becoming involved in the Janesville community.
Donna Felland is The Gazette’s ad production manager. Her career as a graphic designer began in 1992 at an Appleton ad agency, soon after earning a bachelor’s degree from UW-Oshkosh. Later, she worked as a freelance graphic artist, taught advertising classes at UW-Oshkosh and was involved in her children’s lives, taking leadership roles in Menasha Youth Sports, a hometown baseball and softball league, including in fundraising, as a board member and eventually as president. In 1997, she and her mother started a paper lampshade company, Shades 4 Fun, Inc. In 2004, she accepted a management position with Leibold & Associates in Neenah. And in 2008, after moving to Whitewater, Donna began working for The Gazette as a part-time executive sales assistant. She was named the newspaper’s ad production manager in 2008. Donna currently serves as president of the Elkhorn Area Women’s Club and looks forward to being part of the new Editorial Board.
Ryan Pruse is the operations director at The Gazette’s Printing & Distribution Center in Janesville. Originally from Silver Bay, Minnesota, he spent 30 years prior to his recent move to Janesville living and working in the St. Cloud, Minnesota, area. Prior to being hired by The Gazette, he worked for 25 years in the newspaper publishing business at ECM Publishing. He and his wife, Jenni, have four children ages 22 to 27 and four grandchildren. Ryan has also been a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard since 2009, specializing in logistics and mobility. After seven years and multiple deployments with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, he was recently promoted into a senior transportation coordinator role.
René Bue is a mother to Liz and James and grandmother to Olyvia, Gabby, Ari and Annabel. She loves to spend her free time outdoors hiking, kayaking and enjoying nature. She has worked for 15 years at Hedberg Public Library and enjoys her community engagement work where she connects people to resources and other people, manages the bookmobile, coordinates programming, and facilitates programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. René wears several other hats that include inclusive services consultant for Arrowhead Library System, adjunct instructor for Blackhawk Technical College, president of the Nutrition & Health Associates Inc. board, member of Allies of Native Nations, and co-chair of Janesville’s Jolly Jingle. René is happy to be an active member of the community she loves.
Larry Squire is the south-central regional president for Johnson Bank. He is a graduate of UW-Madison. He and his family moved to Janesville in 1989 when he accepted a position with Valley Bank. Larry moved to Johnson Bank in 1998 and became regional president in 2001. Larry is actively involved in serving Janesville. In addition to being a member of the Janesville Morning Rotary, he is currently on the Janesville Foundation Board and the Forward Foundation Board. He is also part of the Mercyhealth Regional Community Advisory Board.
Tom Wolfe is retired from the banking and financial services industry and is a past member of both the Janesville School Board and Janesville City Council. He is currently a member of the Janesville Police and Fire Commission, appointed in April 2022. The Janesville resident has completed the Graduate School of Banking at UW-Madison and has a bachelor’s degree from UW-Whitewater and an associate’s degree from UW-Rock County. His involvement in the Janesville community has included volunteer roles with the Janesville Morning Rotary, YMCA of Northern Rock County, Janesville Performing Arts Center, Forward Janesville, United Way and UW-Rock County Foundation.