Farewell, Fair Wisconsinite: We Hardly Knew Ye

Madison’s alt-biweekly free newspaper, the Wisconsinite, folded up shop last month after a scant dozen issues. The group that founded and produced the paper included members of the Madison IMC collective (but was most definitely not a print project of the IMC itself). It was positioned to the left of the city’s tired alt-weekly, which now targets “affluent hipsters” compelled to spawn. Very respectably progressive, the Wisconsinite had some meaty stories on interesting stuff, was fairly well-laid out, and was even printed on higher-quality newsprint stock than the Isthmus.
Then Madison’s dominant daily announced it would be starting a free “alt-weekly” of its own, and the state’s largest paper shortly followed suit. It is apparently a growing trend in the mainstream newspaper marketplace to use the “alt-weekly” trick in hopes of luring a younger demographic – both for their disposable income and to entice them into the habit of reading a paper, something going lost on the under-25 crowd.
Madison’s just not big enough to support four free pubs: the reader base is one problem, but there’s also the question of fighting for rack space at available distribution points. With such deep-pocketed competitors looming on the horizon the Wiscosninite bowed out. Frankly, I don’t think it ever really got the chance to find its voice.
After substantial hounding from their managing editor I managed to get in two radio-themed pieces. “Deep in the Lake” takes a look at a local broadcast chain maneuvering at the FCC to add more stations to its stable; “March of the Low-Band God Squad” is a Wisconsin-themed examination of the impact of the “Great Translator Invasion of 2003” on the FM dial.
I would have linkified them but at present I’m editing these pages at home and posting from the Illini Union. Note to self: move to a blog, stupid!