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Erik

Award-winning reporter Erik Gunn has written for Milwaukee Magazine since 1995 and wrote the magazine's Pressroom column from 2006 to 2011. The Milwaukee Press Club named it the best topical column in 2007 and best beat coverage in 2010. He's been on staff at one radio station and five daily newspapers over his career, which means he either can't hold a job or has worked for practically every S.O.B. in the business. Pressroom Buzz began in 2010 and has continued covering the media here online since the cessation of the print column in 2011.

Post: The Whole World is Surfing
9/27/2013
CORRECTION: The Adams-Jackson election referred to was in 1828, not 1824 -- my error. We'll get it fixed in the copy when we can.
Post: New Assignment
9/20/2012
Thursday morning, in response to my inquiry about future plans for The Writer, its location and its staff, Madaver Media sent this statement, attributed to Susan Fitzgerald, VP at Madaver: "The offices of The Writer and BirdWatching magazines are making the move from Wisconsin to Quincy, Mass., where they will now be based at Madavor Media. We are excited to be overseeing both publications, but are particularly happy to have The Writer return to its original home in the Boston area. The current staff of each magazine is helpfully assisting with the transition while we decide future editorial steps for the publications. The November/December and January issues of The Writer are a collaboration between Madavor and Kalmbach Publishing editorial teams."
Post: Hanging On
8/3/2012
An eagle-eyed reader points out that with regard to the timing of Journal Communications going public, "earlier in this decade" means in the same decade as one is writing. Of course, I meant about 10 years ago. I've corrected the wording.
Post: How Involved is too Involved?
5/1/2012
Community blogger Steve Schuster explored some of these questions with reporters in Washington and Baltimore last month: http://www.milwaukeemag.com/article/4122012-WalkersDividedWisconsin
Post: Press Links: March 13, 2012
3/13/2012
JS Managing Editor George Stanley got back to me after we posted about the no-comments-on-the-mosque-story question. "Whenever we think, from past history, that a story is likely draw a rash of offensive comments -- and we won't be able to remove the ones that break our commenting guidelines in a timely manner -- we can take down the commenting function with the story. That decision can be made by a reporter, an online producer, an editor or a copy editor."
Post: A Wisconsin Reporter Update
2/23/2012
Liebenthal got back to me late Wednesday with this response to the Franklin Center's statement: "The funding source of the Franklin Center is well documented, not by just myself, but scores of sources. Likewise, the domain ownership was independently confirmed and clearly demonstrates the intermeshing of the Franklin Center, Wisconsin Reporter and Scott Walker's campaign. Their denial of these easily demonstrated and verifiable facts says more about their integrity and reliability as a news source than anything else."
Post: The Cost of Free News
2/22/2012
Check out our update on this story tying up some loose ends http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/2222012-AWisconsinReporterUpdate
Post: PolitiFact Puzzle
12/13/2011
One more item to read about the "who is a journalist" question: Rebecca Rosen at The Atlantic on why that's the wrong question to ask: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/print/2011/12/why-we-should-stop-asking-whether-bloggers-are-journalists/249864/
Post: The Cops and The Press: Next Round
11/8/2011
UPDATE, 2:53 PM, November 8, 2011: Freelance reporter Geoff Davidian has his own beef with the MPD over a confrontation involving a camera. You can learn a bit more about Davidian's side of the story here: www.meanjosephanderer.info, or here: http://milwaukeepress.net/. (Note, Davidian has been a Milwaukee Magazine contributor.)
Post: Calculated Risk
10/28/2011
Readers interested in hearing Flynn's interview with Mark Belling can go to Belling's podcast page, http://www.belling.com/cc-common/podcast.html. Listen to Hour 2, parts 1 and 2. Greg Borowski of the JS was on Belling today; the podcast will probably be up later. If I find or receive permalinks to the two broadcasts, I'll post them.
Post: Johnson vs. Johnston
9/13/2011
No, Johnston doesn't say evaded, but he does suggest they might have done the same thing that led to legal action against Hormel. So I think he's making more than just the usual "perfectly legal" argument. And I'm not saying he's wrong, either. I don't know.
Post: Oh, Those Nasty Readers
7/13/2011
(I second reader brthompson's observation about the problem with the many comments that aren't offensive, but simply vapid.)
Post: Oh, Those Nasty Readers
7/13/2011
While working on this column I emailed Janesville Gazette editor Scott Angus about his paper's policy of closing certain stories to comments. I heard back from him after deadline: "We think it has worked well," Angus says. "Traffic went down some initially, but it has bounced back. More important, we've cut down significantly on the number of inappropriate and offensive comments. That has improved the civility on our site, and it has reduced the workload for the people who monitor comments, including me. "We might consider changes in the months ahead, including requiring names from commenters, but for now we're satisfied with the balance we've struck."
Post: Left Turn
6/29/2011
The above column was published in the May issue of Milwaukee magazine. After it went to press, Pimentel announced he was leaving for San Antonio to become a local news columnist at the Express News newspaper there. Pressroom Buzz followed up here (scroll down to the second item): http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/4192011-UnravelingtheMartialLawRumor
Post: Unraveling the ‘Martial Law’ Rumor
4/19/2011
My own response: As I note in the column, the GMC itself has certainly never hidden from the Initiative. Indeed, a "Media Kit" on the "Make It Your Milwaukee County" site that makes the relationship clearer was called to our attention after publication of this column. It remains a fact, though, that nowhere on the site's "About" tab was anything tying the Initiative to the GMC -- yet by standard website conventions, that is where a casual 'Net surfer would reasonably be expected to look first for such information. So intentionally or not, that omission added to a sense of "mystery" about the project. My interest is in how the media -- whether traditional or alternative -- shape our understanding of what is really going on. In that light, this still-unfolding story is a case study in how the shifting media landscape has complicated the very act of figuring out just what "the story" is.
Post: Unraveling the ‘Martial Law’ Rumor
4/19/2011
Taylor concludes: "The Initiative's position on the proposed fiscal stress test is clearly identified on the website as focused "solely on encouraging greater openness and transparency in the operation of local government." The Initiative does not support legislation that would provide the state with the ability to takeover local government entities. .......Julia Taylor, President, Greater Milwaukee Committee"
Post: Unraveling the ‘Martial Law’ Rumor
4/19/2011
"On February 14, 2011, the Initiative reported its recommendations at a news conference and through the launch of a website - www.makeityourmilwaukee.com. As indicated in your article ("Unraveling the 'martial law' rumor"), the Initiative has been widely covered in the local media, including through news stories, editorials and op-eds that have run in print publications, such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Business Journal, and BizTimes, as well as local radio and television stations and numerous online outlets....
Post: Unraveling the ‘Martial Law’ Rumor
4/19/2011
Taylor's statement: "There is no mystery about the Make It Your Milwaukee County Initiative. The Initiative was formed, through the sponsorship of the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), to advocate for reforms to address the structural financial challenges facing Milwaukee County. Over the last year, the Initiative has met with more than a hundred business, community, civic and faith leaders throughout the County to discuss the challenges facing Milwaukee and to develop specific recommendations for reform.... [More]
Post: Unraveling the ‘Martial Law’ Rumor
4/19/2011
Late this afternoon, I got a further statement from Julia Taylor, along with links to a press kit at the Make It Your Milwaukee County website. I will post that momentarily.
Post: Does Schiller = Sherrod?
3/23/2011
And a further update on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign report: The Capital Times published an online story about it, and now has a print version of that story out in its weekly print edition.
Post: Does Schiller = Sherrod?
3/23/2011
On Michigan, Mother Jones has a story today that reinforces the notion of a sinister dimension to the new law there. Interestingly, there have been extensive protests in Michigan about this law, yet they seem to have gotten a lot less attention nationally than Wisconsin's protests. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/michigan-snyder-mackinac-center
Post: A Silenced Voice
12/20/2010
My apologies to Steve Schuster for misspelling his last name (now fixed).
Post: Press Links: Nov. 30, 2010
12/2/2010
Don Walker at the Journal Sentinel points out that my search missed a story, "and it was one of the biggest stories we did. You can find it here: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/105152014.html." Indeed I did, and had it turned up in my search I should have added it, too. Don goes on to say, and with reason, "I’ll let TV stations explain themselves, but don’t throw in the Journal Sentinel as an example of a media entity that passed on stories about campaign spending."