Another Wisconsin paper says staffers signed recall petitions

UPDATE: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — Wisconsin’s largest news organization — says none of its journalists signed recall petitions.

UPDATE 2: The weekend columns by Gannett editors and publishers were nearly identical and — I guessed — were written by one person. I asked Green Bay Press-Gazette publisher Kevin Corrado about that. He responded:

Editorial leaders and top management at all of Gannett Wisconsin Media locations worked together to discuss what happened, and to respond in light of Gannett’s Principles of Ethical Conduct for newsrooms.

Some common talking points emerged and we wanted to make sure we were upholding those principles at all of our newspapers. So, the columns in all of the newspapers shared common themes. Each publisher was free to add his or her thoughts, but the key points were common.

We all stand by what we wrote and signed our names to it.

Compare these columns by:
* Fond du Lac Reporter’s executive editor
* Green Bay Press Gazette’s publisher
* Oshkosh Daily Northwestern’s executive editor
* Appleton Post-Crescent’s publisher
* Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter staff


The Wisconsin State Journal says six of its employees signed petitions calling for the recall of Gov. Scott Walker. One signer is staff photographer, three are imaging technicians, and two are part-time sports clerks/writers. Editor John Smalley says the paper is “surprised and disappointed” by the staffers’ actions, and “we apologize to our readers for the lapse in judgment by several staff members.”

Jay Rosen made fun of the editor’s scolding in a tweet this morning: “If imaging technicians who do graphics processing sign a petition how can we trust anything in your freakin’ newspaper?”

Last weekend, editors and publishers from several Gannett papers in Wisconsin told readers that their employees were caught signing the recall petitions, and that “we are now in the process of addressing discipline and presenting supplemental ethics training for all news employees.”

* Six Wisconsin State Journal staffers signed recall petitions
* Employees at Gannett papers in Wisconsin signed recall petitions



  1. NtS said:

    This is such self-regarding piety on the part of these newspaper editors. If a reporter can vote, why in the world can’t the reporter vote on a recall petition? These editors need to spend more time putting out a minimally decent newspaper rather than scolding the staff (and trying to impress each other in the process) for simply acting as citizens.

  2. anonymous said:

    i have to assume that the papers have taken an editorial stand on the recall. (and i’m just guessing, but i’ll bet they opposed it.) so it’s ok for the publisher and the top editor (and/or whatever editorial board those papers might have) — people who would have actual influence over news coverage — to take a public stand on the issue. but it’s not ok for imaging technicians?

  3. Bill Reader said:

    None of the State Journal employees seem to be in any position to cover — or influence coverage — of the recall.

    No conflict of interest. Bias, sure, but no conflict of interest.