Inducted into the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2017
Martin Kaiser, who from 1997 to 2015 served as editor and senior vice president of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is a tireless innovator, uncompromising editor and one of the most strategic newspaper editors of his generation.
His list of accomplishments while at the Journal Sentinel is extensive. It includes creating the paper’s esteemed watchdog team; launching PolitiFact Wisconsin and NewsWatch; transitioning the newsroom to a round-the-clock, digital-first operation; leading the paper to numerous awards, including three Pulitzer Prizes; raising the bar for journalism statewide and nationally; and solidifying the Journal Sentinel among the best newspapers in the nation.
But those who know Kaiser focus not on his many accomplishments — they emphasize his character. They describe him as someone who listens closely, analyzes thoughtfully and cares deeply. He’s the type of leader everyone hopes to work with and those who do are better for it.
As editor of the Journal Sentinel, Kaiser was eager to learn, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with his team during workshops. He was sensitive, approachable and humble, often seeking feedback about his own leadership skills. He was a champion for everyone in his newsroom, fiercely advocating for employees during difficult cutbacks or when he felt staffers facing serious illness weren’t supported by the company’s health plan.
Kaiser exemplifies selfless leadership. He empowers those around him to knock down barriers and reach their potential, accomplishing goals they never thought possible.