Wisconsin State Journal celebrates 180 years

MADISON – The Wisconsin State Journal turned 180 years old Monday, dating back to the first issue of the weekly Madison Express on Dec. 2, 1839.

wisconsin state journal
The press room of the Wisconsin State Journal. The newspaper, which began as the Madison Express, turned 180 years old on Monday, Dec. 2. (Photo: John Hart, Wisconsin State Journal)

An editorial published Sunday detailed the newspaper’s early years and included an image of the first edition of the Express. In the issue, publisher William W. Wyman laid out the newspaper’s goals, which endure today.

“The columns of the Express will be open to the discussion of all fair and proper subjects which will have the tendency of promoting the public good,” he wrote on the front page of the first edition. “We shall expose tyranny wherever it may exist, fearless of consequences, and shall also endeavor to expose any infringement, which may be made, by men in power, upon the rights of the people.”

In 1852, the Express moved from weekly to daily and became the Wisconsin State Journal.

Editor John Smalley on Monday also published a “Q&A” with the newspaper on what it feels like to turn 180. The Q&A touched on the future of the State Journal, including its price, digital journalism and how long the printed newspaper will continue.

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