Since April 1, 1953, Wally Smetana has represented the people of Dunn County in a myriad ways, most notably as long-time editor of The Dunn County News. In a career that spans more than five decades, he has earned an unblemished reputation for fair and accurate reporting as well as integrity, high standards and an unerring nose for news.
After graduating from River Falls State Teachers College, Smetana worked briefly as a history teacher before crossing the street from the Dunn County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy to accept Dunn County News publisher J.W. Flint’s offer of a full-time job as sports editor and advertising manager. No stranger to the field of journalism, he was both a reporter and editor of his college newspaper. In 1960, Smetana was named editor, a position he occupied until 1992, when he “retired” to become editor emeritus on a part-time basis.
Calling it the “best show of all,” Smetana has a passion for local politics, one that earned him Wisconsin Newspaper Association accolades in 1984 for a series of editorials he wrote about the city manager form of government. Since 1972, he has served – with the exception of a single two-year term – on the Dunn County Board of Supervisors. He has also been a local director of the American Red Cross and a member of the Menomonie Community Development Commission, Menomonie Housing Authority, and Lions Club. In 2007, Smetana was honored as “Citizen of the Year” by the Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce.
Still on the job, this veteran of local affairs pens his popular “From the Files” column and continues to cover the local political scene.