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February 10, 2008

Madison's Cap Times changes course

Jennifer A. Smith

The big media news in Madison over the past week was one of those shocks that's not really a shock: the Capital Times, an afternoon paper that is one of two local dailies, will cease daily publication on April 26. Beginning April 30, the paper will publish two tabloid-format editions a week: a news and opinion section on Wednesdays and an arts and entertainment section on Thursdays. The paper also claims that it will significantly increase its Web presence.

The two weekly tabloids will be distributed to subscribers already getting Madison's morning paper, the Wisconsin State Journal, and also made available free in racks.

While the Cap Times trumpets its "increased circulation" to over 80,000 under this new plan, that seems largely due to its being distributed with the State Journal and given away. The Cap Times' subscriber base is currently just north of 17,000--and this in a metro area estimated at 550,000 (Madison itself is about 225,000).

While this seems like a gain for State Journal readers since they'll be getting content from an additional paper for (presumably) no extra cost, I'm guessing faithful Cap Times readers are not pleased. But it is doubtful that the Cap Times, in some form, will go away completely due to the terms of a rather confusing Joint Operating Agreement governing Madison's two papers.

Here's some coverage on the shift from the Cap Times site and some commentary by local blogger Madison Guy (see especially his thoughts on the possible drawback of this plan).

And in other local news... it appears Wisconsin's primary on Feb. 19 might actually matter, since the race is not yet sewn up. Barack Obama is headed here for an appearance on Tuesday, mere blocks from where I work. Though I will likely vote for him, I'm hoping to hightail it away from work before the crowds build up... I never miss an election, but large crowds are not my thing. Last week, AJ blogger Tyler Green offered up some thoughts on presidential candidates and the arts - with a useful link to policy statements on the Americans for the Arts Action Fund site.

P.S. As I write this on a Sunday night, it's -6 degrees here (and no, that's not the windchill). Oof.

Posted by Jennifer A. Smith at February 10, 2008 6:09 PM


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Posted by: Steereblepe at February 13, 2008 9:04 AM