MADISON — The Wisconsin Newspaper Association inducted two longtime editors into the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame on Thursday, joining 48 other leaders who have previously been recognized for significant contributions to the newspaper industry.
Thomas Schultz, managing editor of the Watertown Daily Times, and Martin Kaiser, former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, were honored during a banquet hosted by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation at the Madison Club.
The Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame was created in 2001 to honor visionaries and innovators in the Wisconsin newspaper industry. Hall of Fame nominations are open to anyone, living or deceased, who has contributed above and beyond the call of duty to newspapers and newspapering in Wisconsin.
Schultz has worked for the Watertown Daily Times for more than five decades, beginning as a carrier boy in 1962. He has managed the Daily Times newsroom for most of his career and been an integral part of the newspaper’s management team.
Schultz was presented with his Hall of Fame plaque by Jim Clifford, publisher of the Daily Times.
“Tom is like family to us,” said Clifford, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. “He’s been with us for a long time through thick and thin … We are just blessed to have him for so many years … It’s been a real honor to have him as a part of the Daily Times and part of this elite group of Hall of Famers.”
Schultz, a past president of the WNA Board of Directors and the Wisconsin Associated Press Editors Association, said he was thankful for the opportunities he had been given and “quite humbled” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“No question, the best part of my job has been the people,” Schultz said. “Everyone in the news business gets to meet some powerful people. I’ve been fortunate to even meet a couple presidents of the United States, governors, congressmen, senators, business executives, sports leaders and more. That’s OK, that comes and goes. But it’s the real people – our friends and our neighbors and the people we didn’t even know until they stopped in the office – that’s the most rewarding.
“I want to thank everybody for this honor tonight,” Schultz added. “It’s an amazing one. I’m going to cherish this for the rest of my life. It’s very, very special to me and totally unexpected.”
Kaiser led the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1997 until his retirement in 2015. Under his leadership, the Journal Sentinel and won three Pulitzer Prizes and earned a national reputation for investigative journalism and digital innovation. Kaiser now lives in Maryland and is a senior fellow at The Democracy Fund.
George Stanley, current editor of the Journal Sentinel and managing editor during Kaiser’s tenure, spoke about Kaiser’s leadership as the newspaper industry began facing harsh new economic realities with the arrival of Craigslist and free online news.
“Managing a course through good times is fine and well,” Stanley said. “Maintaining a course through challenging times is praise-worthy. But plotting a course to new heights during the most difficult times the industry has faced, that’s Hall of Fame leadership.”
Kaiser told the audience he was concerned about the future of democracy in the United States as newsrooms continue to shed jobs and as “talking heads” on television, radio and the internet undermine the work of real journalists. Despite the challenges, Kaiser stressed journalists need to remain involved in their communities and report on the issues that touch readers’ lives.
“It’s the ability to create a sense of place in the paper, online, a place that connects journalists to their community, something that so many of the newspapers around this state do such an exceptional job doing,” Kaiser said. “This gives journalists the freedom to be critical, holding officials and institutions accountable, doing what readers expect us to do, not as outsiders lecturing to them. We are part of the community.
“At this celebration, we have to think about the people who inspired us to do great journalism and the leadership that comes from so many people in this room,” Kaiser added. “By recognizing those people, we recognize our responsibility to protect, nurture and mentor the journalists and news organizations of the future.”
About the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation
The Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation is a not-for-profit organization created in 1980 to support programs that foster excellence in journalism, engage current and future newspaper leaders and invest in our communities. The foundation solicits, manages and disburses funds and other resources for the benefit of Wisconsin’s newspaper industry.
About the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame
The Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame was created in 2001 to honor visionaries and innovators in the Wisconsin newspaper industry. Hall of Fame nominations are open to anyone, living or deceased, who has contributed above and beyond the call of duty to newspapers and newspapering in Wisconsin. This includes publishers, editors, reporters, photographers or any other newspaper personnel who’ve had a significant influence on the newspaper industry.
It is expected that the individual should have dedicated at least 15 years of service to newspapering. Length of service by itself, however, is not expected to be a major determinant.
With the approval of the nomination committee, Hall of Fame induction may be extended to someone outside the working industry, such as an educator, jurist, attorney or legislator. The primary criterion is exceptional service on behalf of Wisconsin newspapers. Other criteria may be established or considered by the Hall of Fame selection committee or the WNA Foundation Board as deemed appropriate or necessary.
Wisconsin Newspaper Association
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