From the Editor: Back on the beat
By Mike Warren
As I enter my 28th year of covering Wood County news, let me begin by saying how excited I am for this opportunity. Multi Media Channels, the owner of this publication, is affording me the chance to do something I believe I am still good at, and something for which I still have a passion.
As I write this, I cannot help but think back to the summer of 1993, when I was embarking on a journalism career I never dreamed would span three decades. I started working under Thom Gerretsen and Marilyn Hansotia in the newsroom of WDLB-AM1450 on July 5, 1993. I quickly learned that the boundaries of our newsroom went far beyond Marshfield.
After a month-long crash course in what we covered and why, I was deemed ready for my first solo assignment, covering the August meeting of the Wood County Board of Supervisors in Wisconsin Rapids. What a cast of characters! I still remember the likes of Al Reynolds, Jesse Koran, Dave Draves, and so many more wonderful public servants too numerous to mention, and who were all so helpful to me as I learned their policies and procedures.
I also quickly learned I had another great resource at my disposal, when I was introduced to Carl Hilke from WFHR-AM1320 in Wisconsin Rapids. Thom and Carl had been trading news stories regularly for years before I arrived on the scene, and Hilke was quick to bring me into the fold and help me in any way he could–something he continued to do until losing his battle with cancer in 2019.
I learned from Thom and Carl what was important to cover – local government and elections, relevant criminal and court cases, and the community in general – and that has not changed. As Thom often reminded me, local government is the last level that people can really reach out and touch and affect change.
That is not to say we will ignore state government entirely. When relevant, we will report on state issues which have an impact on the communities we cover, and how our local representatives voted in Madison, and why. Furthermore, any time a state leader, such as governor or state school superintendent, visit the area, we intend to be there.
I have also come to appreciate local history more and more, and so we do not intend to back down on what we have already been doing, and may even try to do more going forward.
Local sports is also a passion of mine, because it is the most pure form – as athletes compete for the love of the game, not the big paycheck or performance incentives. Having said that, we do like to be there any time the Packers, Brewers, Bucks or Badgers send current or former stars to our area as goodwill ambassadors or for a good cause.
Will we get to everything? Probably not. Is everything that happens around us newsworthy? By no means. But we will continue to do our best to bring you the local news and information that matters the most, and do so in a timely fashion.
If you think we have missed something, or feel you have an event that should be covered or a story that should be told, please reach out to me at [email protected].