A message from the Editor
Earlier this year, when Will Hascall and myself took over as Publisher and Editor of Middle Wisconsin (MW) we also took on the goal of making this volunteer-ran non-profit more sustainable, as in ensuring its longevity. When I started out as the Editor, I knew that my most grueling task would be finding public domain art to run with stories. If I couldn’t find public domain art, then I would either go about creating art or purchasing stock art.
Last edition, which was scheduled to come out a couple days after I would have surgery, I made the call to not have any feature photos. Will agreed with my decision, so we consulted the board and ran with it.
We have not heard any complaints regarding this decision. I figured that most of our readers wouldn’t care if we scrapped the feature photos, and some might not even notice. Our readership is made up of actual readers. The Too Long Didn’t Read (TLDR) crowd is not an audience we care to serve. No one comes to MW for the pictures.
Not running a feature photo for stories doesn’t mean that we will never run art. We encourage writers to submit photos that they have taken of local events, or charts and graphics that they have generated to accompany their stories. These will appear with the stories on the site, but will not appear in the newsletter that goes out to subscribers. This results in faster load times.
Initially, I had planned on creating placeholder art to run in place of feature photos, but as I thought more and more about it, I figured readers would get pretty sick of seeing the same set of images time and again.
It is one thing when art helps tell a story, but quite another when you are struggling to find a visual that is a near match.
My initial experience with MW was as a reader. I think that I am still pretty representative of the readership of this publication. Did the pictures that ran with stories fulfill a need for me as a reader? Very seldom.
If you agree or disagree with the decision to remove feature photos, tell us using our online form. We want to fulfill the needs of our readers as well as make things a little easier for both present and future MW volunteers.
Thank you to all of our readers and writers. You are the reason we are here.