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By Brandi Makuski, Editor-in-Chief
The Wisconsin Rapids City-Times has been silent for many months.
Many readers were excited when we first launched our website, www.wrcitytimes.com, in 2013. We provided the best local news, free of charge, and you loved us for it. It was a sister publication to the Stevens Point City Times, and while it had common roots it was a locally-written publication.
We turned the lights out for a while, but now we’re back- and better than ever.
To our credit we have moxie, guts and a long term vision of reporting all the hard news in the community that went largely missed by other news outlets.
Due to heavy reader demand, we are also adding a weekly print edition to our news arsenal, and we’re looking for a few good men and women, local to the Wisconsin Rapids Area, to join our ranks.
When the Wood Family first proposed joining the forces of the City Times with the Buyer’s Guide, I was reticent to accept the offer, somewhat indignantly believing it would turn the City Times brand into the same fodder stamped out by Gannett. Corporate, “cookie-cutter” news was the exact opposite of what the community needed.
The Wood Family is well-known throughout the media industry in Wisconsin; it’s patriarch, Frank, fought throughout the 1980s and 90s to save his daily newspaper, the Green Bay News-Chronicle, from being swallowed by corporate media giant Gannett, leading to a series of legal battles and stinging articles he and others forged against his competitor.
Frank Wood eventually sold his paper to Gannett in 2004, but not before his story was published in The Chain Gang by Richard McCord. The book was an inside peek into the world of Gannett- the City Times’ own daily news competitor- and for the first time made me aware of at least some of the challenges the Wood Family faced. That the family is still involved in the news business shows they know how to weather a storm, but it’s also kismet: what an ideal force of nature we can make in the news business today. The family now owns the local Buyer’s Guide, Central Wisconsin Hoopla and a slew of other publications under the name Multi-Media Channels LLC.
To me, the City Times isn’t just a product. It’s become part of the infrastructure in the Stevens Point metro area- and now we hope to grow just as much in Wisconsin Rapids; to become part of the institution of the Fourth Estate upon which readers base conversation, opinion and action in their daily lives.
Our decision was pragmatic: joining together, building upon what the other has already established, will make the Wisconsin Rapids City Times the largest newspaper in Wood County.
It’s been a great ride so far, and I see many more years of great experiences with MMC at the helm. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.