An editor & publisher at age 7

Start the presses!

The most recent editor of the Wisconsin State Journal is moving upstairs to a job at corporate hdq. Jason Adrians, we hardly knew ye. Isn’t that the case with every newspaper editor and publisher these days? Who is today’s Colonel McCormick? Katherine Graham? Ben Bradlee? Who bosses the Washington Post since Marty Baron? (A: Sally Buzbee?)

Here in Madison WI, Wild Bill Evjue broke away from the State Journal over his old employer’s opposition to Fighting Bob La Follette. Evjue (pronounced “Ev-you”) founded The Capital Times in 1917 — the same year he served a term in the state legislature! Journalism and politics! Evjue owned and ran it for the next 53 years like Connie Mack of the old Philly Athletics. Who was going to tell the owner he couldn’t foist his opinions in a Page One column?

Or air his own radio program on the station he owned? WIBA-AM was required listening Sunday mornings after Mass in the 1950s. The old man would bellow “Hello Wisconsin!” That exertion prompted a vigorous throat clearing and loosening of Democrat(ic) phlegm while our family ate Sunday dinner (not lunch!).

News you can trust

It is something of an exaggeration but father was usually hidden behind the eight-column pages of The Capital Times. His boy figured there must be something important in there. For his 7th birthday the kid received a tiny printing press. But there wasn’t much you could say with the limited rubber type provided.

Every school kid possessed a 5 by 8-inch tablet of lined paper. That became the newsprint for The Blaskie News — a nod to how some of our farm neighbors pronounced our name. Its editor and publisher was the leading voice of Bugtown, a nation located somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, improbably rectangular like the farm’s Back 40. Conveniently, young Blaska was also President of Bugtown.

Bugtown paper #1 p1

“But he askaped.” At least brother Bill was not tourched by hot flaming wips.

Over the next couple of years, while brother Mike-boy was following the hired man around the farm, David sat at the kitchen table to scratch out 51 editions. We reproduce here the very first, which details the oldest two boys arresting and briefly incarcerating the next brother, Bill, in snow fence — before he “askaped.” After that episode, the editor rushed to the kitchen table to report the news to the people of Bugtown in Issue #1.

Years later, the same reporter (only slightly matured) walked into the editor’s office at 1901 Fish Hatchery Road. Evjue’s successor, Miles McMillan — a force in his own right — barked, “What do you want, Blaska?”

“Your job,” the reporter answered.

Imagine that editorial page!

That ambition was never realized. His politics were all wrong and — truth be told — his personality as well. After 18 years in daily newspapering, Tommy Thompson called; 1990 was an election year. Fast forward to 2002. Jim Doyle had just defeated Scott McCallum for governor. Republicans like Blaska wore a target on their back — as the Wisconsin State Journal reported in so many words. Tom Still was leaving as its editorial page editor. Never wanted a job so dearly.

Blaska’s Bottom LineScored an interview as one of the finalists. The editor riffled through his mail during our face to face. Was all the applicant could do to resist smacking the mail out of his hand. The editor’s name askapes me, which is the point of today’s episode.

Should Blaska apply to be the next editor?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in Tales from the front lines and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to An editor & publisher at age 7

  1. Marginal says:

    Fun article. So glad your grammar & spelling has improved! Also excellent editorial letter in Sunday’s paper. Now if only the progressives would listen.


  2. jimydandy says:

    I knew the Urinal hit bottom when they endorsed Gore for Prez.


  3. One eye says:

    Please no.


  4. Almostarepublican says:

    It’s always fun to find work done as kids. Thanks for sharing. You were blogging before it was fashionable.


  5. georgessson says:

    “The editor’s name askapes me…” Even at this tender age, the Squire was already sportin’ traditional ebonics.


  6. fjaeckle says:

    Absolutely. It would be a refreshing change for the paper. What does the editor do anyway? I get the State Journal on line and really only read the Local News. I also get the Tucson Arizona Daily Star on line and only read the local news in there as well. I could overlay the national news part of the State Journal page for page over the Arizona Daily Star and it is a perfect match, headlines, layout, content, and identical typographical and grammatical errors. The only exception is the newspaper name at the top and the ads (if any). I would guess this is understandable since the ownership (Lee Enterprises) is the same for both papers, a lot of money saved there.. The editorials in both papers are slanted to 85% progressive as are the letters to the editors. The remaining 15% of the letters to the editors are left leaning independents and Republicans.

    I can understand their gross progressive political bias in Dane County given the political leanings of most the populace, but really in Arizona? This explains why most of my Arizona neighbors do not subscribe to the Arizona Star and choose to get no newspaper or opt for the Phoenix based Arizona Republic (which does not have Tucson area local news).

    I really look forward to getting the Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal which I read very thoroughly as it is factual and not biased and provides the information I need to form my opinions and make my voting decisions. It is worth every penny I spend for the Saturday only edition. Their articles present information that is fact checked and it fairly and respectfully presents both sides of issues. In short, it is the only paper I can trust. It is what Journalism is supposed to be, and is not just a copy of the press releases of the Democratic party that we see in the State Journal and the Star which presented as “news” without fact checking or further investigation. So David, please do apply for the job. Me thinks you won’t get it, but you might give them something to think about. And please, do slap the mail out of the interviewer’s hands.

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.