Real News: A Note About Our Editorial Standards

Carole Nicksin’s monthly letter to our readers addresses journalism in the era of “fake news” and sponsored content.

On a few occasions recently, journalistic ethics came up in conversation. And the people I was chatting with were somewhat surprised to hear that this magazine holds itself to some pretty stringent standards. Their reactions prompted me to write this letter.

These days, between “fake news” and the proliferation of sponsored content online, it’s often hard to know what you can trust. That’s why I want you, our readers, to know that Milwaukee Magazine is an independent voice, beholden to no one. In our reporting, we strive to be fair, balanced and accurate. We adhere to the same high bar on every page. When our dining editor eats out, she does so anonymously, and the magazine foots the bill. When it comes to advertisers, we consider their products and services for inclusion in stories when appropriate, but advertising in the magazine comes with no guarantee of editorial coverage or deference. Non-editorial content, such as our Special Advertising Sections, is clearly labeled to differentiate it from the rest of our pages.

Holding ourselves to these standards can be costly and time-consuming, but I know that the staff here wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope that you value our rigor, and I thank you for helping support this independent voice in your community.

In this issue, Doug Moe profiles former U.S. Attorney Jim Santelle, who resigned from his post while under investigation for questionable charges on his government credit card and alleged political activity. This story marks the first time Santelle has spoken to the media since his resignation, and he approached the magazine trusting we’d give his story a full and in-depth treatment. It’s a very compelling read.

Also in this issue is Tom Tolan’s feature on the state of talk radio. When we first discussed this article, we thought we’d have a Democrat in the White House, and that right-wing talkers would be scrambling to stage a comeback for the Republican Party. After the election, we decided that the story was still relevant, but from a different angle. Tom’s extensive reporting and insightful writing bring the talkers to life.

This being our April issue, we couldn’t ignore the obvious: Opening day of baseball season! We get down to the nuts-and-bolts of how opening (and closing) the roof of Miller Park happens. I’m not a huge sports fan, but still, I can’t wait to get out there, have a hot dog and root for the home team. What better way to welcome spring?

Carole Nicksin

‘Real News’ appears in the April 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning April 3, or buy a copy at

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Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin has worked in publishing for over 20 years. Prior to joining the staff of Milwaukee Magazine, she was the style director at All You, a Time Inc. publication. She also served as decorating editor at Home magazine. Carole has written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle and numerous other publications.