Like most people, I was taken by surprise when The Capital Times announced that it was discontinuing publication of a daily newspaper and entering a new world - a world of on-line journalism and a two-day-a-week newspaper.
The surprise was that not in the demise of the daily newspaper. The surprise was the publishers and editors realizing that the future was on the Internet.
The die was cast a half a century ago when The Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal entered into a joint operating agreement to use the same press. In what appeared to be a stroke of good fortune and insight, The Capital Times won the right to publish in the afternoon. The State Journal was 'stuck' with the morning.
In successive years, city after city, the newspapers folded. First the afternoon papers went under. Then cities with four dailies found themselves with one morning paper as television reduced the demand for competing newspapers.
For the past forty years Madison's afternoon newspaper was fighting a losing battle. Under the circumstances, it is amazing they hung in this long.
Then came the Internet. There is an entire generation that has never read a newspaper but maybe a dozen times in their lives. But they get their news. They get it from the Internet and television, which accelerated the demise of the dailies and is also feeling the impact.
This is a marvelous opportunity for Madison and The Capital Times. In the tradition of The Capital Times and the Progressive Magazine, there is an opportunity to not only present local news but also a continuous stream of analysis of critical state and national issues in a most timely manner.
Go for it.