Farewell from the WNA communications director

By James Debilzen
WNA Communications Director

James Debilzen

In journalism school, I was taught to write news stories using the inverted pyramid, putting the most important information up top in a lead that was 35 words or less. This is a column, so there’s a bit more leeway given to the author, but I’ll get right to the point.

Friday is my last day as the director of communications for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

For the first time in my career, I’m stepping out of the newspaper industry and into something that has nothing to do with newspapers. It’s exciting and it’s a little unnerving, but this is a new challenge that will provide more stability for my family as my four kids continue to grow.

I’ll begin a new career on Monday as a marketing and communications specialist for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin.

It’s hard to summarize a newspaper career that spans 15 years in only a few hundred words, so I’ll simply say this: Thank you.

Thank you to those who took a shot on a young kid who loved newspapers and gave him a job.

Thank you to my newsroom coworkers who worked late into the night to cover house fires, car crashes, floods, tense city council meetings and whatever else was blowing up the front page on deadline.

Thank you to the hardworking folks in circulation who make sure the news arrives every day, no matter the weather.

Thank you to the WNA staff, who somehow move heaven and earth to produce one of the best newspaper conventions in the country while fending off attacks from the Legislature and providing ongoing member services for more than 200 publications.

Thank you to Sam Martino, the man who taught me the value of “shoe leather experience” at UW-Whitewater and not letting obstacles get in the way of telling the story.

It has been a privilege to work with many great colleagues and friends as a member of the WNA, and it has been an honor to work for you as a member of the WNA staff during the last two and a half years. My time in the newspaper industry is something I will recall fondly for the rest of my life.

Thank you, sincerely, for all that you do to keep the public informed about the world around them.