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Supporting Local Journalism

Local newsrooms face an accelerating crisis

Local newsrooms are the heart of their communities. However, according to a Microsoft article, changes in digital advertising and in the way people receive their news has lead to:

  • A decrease in newsroom employment and fewer local stories
  • An increase in digital illiteracy making some susceptible to manipulated content. 
  • Cyber attacks

A Community Solution












We along with the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation are part of a new collaborative effort to help our local newsrooms address this growing crisis.

This initiative launched in May 2021 provides technology support, capacity building and additional funding to preserve and protect journalism and local newsrooms.

Microsoft selected Northeast Wisconsin as its fifth local news pilot in the United States as part of its Journalism initiative, donating a total of $300,000 to the Northeast Wisconsin Journalism Initiative Fund, established within the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

The region was selected in part because of a strong history of impact and collaboration by the two community foundations, local media, and TitletownTech’s partnership with the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. As a three-year pilot effort, the community foundations are encouraging other organizations, businesses and individuals to also make supporting local journalism an important focus.

Meet the NEW News Lab Partners:

We are currently partnered with six news organizations: Fox Valley 365, The Post-Crescent, Green Bay Press Gazette, The Press Times, Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Watch, that will advance in-depth local reporting on topics such as racism as a public health crisis, lack of affordable housing, funding of local schools, or coverage of local judicial systems. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Journalism Department is an educational partner.  Read the full news release.

2021 Community Journalism Projects

NEW News Lab members will release stories supported by the partnership, which will be available for free publication by other news organizations across the state and nation.

Here are the NEW News Lab stories:

Imperiled Shores November 4, 2021, Wisconsin’s Great Lakes communities expect to spend $245 million in five years to protect shorelines as a climate ‘tug of war’ drives extreme shifts in water levels. Read More

As Lake Michigan shoreline vanishes, Wisconsinites try to fight waves with walls November 4, 2021, Wisconsin sees a surge in barriers to slow lakefront erosion. But such structures are temporary and may harm downstream beaches. Read More

‘The water always wins’: Calls to protect shorelines as volatile Lake Michigan inflicts heavy toll October 30, 2021, Wisconsin’s Great Lakes communities expect to spend $245 million in five years to protect shorelines as a climate ‘tug of war’ drives extreme shifts in water levels. Read More

Just as important: Syble Hopp, a place of belonging October 22, 2021, For five decades, Syble Hopp has sought to be a place where students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities feel like they belong. “I cannot say enough about Syble Hopp,” Julie Taylor, mom of 19-year-old Preston, who has attended for the past 11 years, said. Read More

Just as important: Funding conundrum October 14, 2021, Understanding the special education system in the State of Wisconsin can be challenging.Add funding to the equation and comprehension is likely headed into a tailspin. Federal and state mandates require all public school districts provide special education services to students who require them. Read More

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Just as important: Inside the classroom October 7, 2021,
Parents advocate and directors facilitate.
But, it’s teachers who interpret complex 504 accommodation plans and Individualized Education Plans – to turn them into meaningful lessons for students.
Area administrators agree the success of any special education department is heavily dependent on the teachers inside the classrooms. Read More

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Wisconsin’s special ed system: High stress, sparse state funding October 2, 2021, Wisconsin Watch
For parents and teachers, raising and educating a special-needs child can be all-consuming. Parents struggle to care and advocate for their children, who may have significant health, educational and behavior challenges. And teachers face tough working conditions that prompt many of them to switch districts or leave special education, creating a shortage of qualified educators. Read More

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Just as important: The weight of the job September 30, 2021,
The job of a special education director is a balancing act between state and federal requirements and a desire to help students and families. Mandates, continuous paperwork, staff shortages, varied student needs, frustrated parents, limited resources, funding struggles – the list of responsibilities on the shoulders of the directors can sometimes seem infinite. Read More

New News

Just as important: A secondary education odyssey September 23, 2021,
The transition from elementary school to middle school, and from middle school to high school are milestones for students – new buildings, new kids, new classes, new routines. For special education students and their families these transitions can require copious planning and are oftentimes filled with uncertainty. Read More

New News

Just as important: Early education odyssey September 16, 2021,
Parents of special education students are driven by the instinctive need to help their child. Though the end goal of all involved is to help students succeed, the path to get there can differ drastically, and sometimes spark frustration.  Read More

New News

A Fox Valley builder provides affordable housing. It’s not easy. September 14, 2021,
Expert says, ‘middle income, workforce housing price point for ownership has just disappeared’ in Wisconsin. Here’s how one builder is trying to meet the need. Read More

News lab

Just as important: Understanding the special education system September 13, 2021, Parents with students in special education programs need to familiarize themselves with a series of acronyms which reference federal and state mandates to help them through what can often be an arduous process. Read More


‘It’s criminal’: Milwaukeeans call for speedier lead pipeline removal to cut childhood poisoning September 9, 2021, Replacing all Milwaukee lead service lines would take 70 years at current pace. Meanwhile, Wisconsin home lead investigations rarely test water amid focus on paint. Read More


People with disabilities sue to overturn Wisconsin law denying them unemployment benefits September 7, 2021,
Eight plaintiffs receiving Social Security Disability Insurance payments say the state is illegally discriminating against them by banning them from jobless aid. Read More


Will the end of pandemic-related unemployment benefits ease Wisconsin’s worker shortage? September 3, 2021,
Faced with a workforce shortage in some low-wage industries, 22 states ended the $300 federal unemployment expansion early. These state governments believed the expanded benefit was discouraging people from seeking a job. Read More


‘Skipping the middleman’: Defendants faced shifting demands in Outagamie County judge’s one-man drug court
August 28, 2021,
The judge says it met a need, but the self-styled program lacked structure and meant longer punishments for some. Read More

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‘It’s all or nothing’: A small pay bump can cut benefits for Wisconsin workers August 16, 2021,
A 25-cent raise threatens loss of needed benefits for some low-income families, making it hard to get ahead. For many people, a small increase in pay can mean a disproportionately greater decrease in benefits.  Read More


District administrators concerned with biennial budget August 4, 2021, Press Times
District administrators are attempting to read between the lines as they start to determine what the budget means for their individual school districts going forward. Initial reactions among top area school leaders are pretty similar – disappointment. Read More

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Old standards don’t work’: 4 things Wisconsin communities can do to increase affordable housing development July 26, 2021 Post-Crescent
To address the need for affordable housing, the Green Bay study called for about half of the needed new apartment construction to rent for less than $1,000 a month, and for about 20% of new homes to be smaller structures that sell for $158,000 or less.  Read More


Help wanted: Northeast Wisconsin businesses hard-pressed for workers as COVID-19 pandemic worsens labor shortage 7/21/21, Post Crescent
Patrick Neph has had to limit reservations at his Green Bay, Wisconsin steakhouse because he doesn’t have enough staff to serve a full house. Neph owns Republic Chophouse and the soon-to-open Mangiare, an Italian restaurant just down the street. Between the two eateries, he needs to hire 10 to 15 more employees.  Read More

newnews judge

An Outagamie County judge controls defendants after sentencing  7/17/21, Wisconsin Watch
“Why do you keep harassing me?” A Wisconsin Watch and WPR analysis shows Judge Vincent Biskupic is the top user of this ‘de facto’ probation, which raises questions of judicial authority — and fairness.  Read More


Racial equity committee starting to form plan 7/26/21, The Press Times
Brown County’s Racial Equity Committee spent its June meeting discussing how the group can best utilize the knowledge and skills already at the table. Three meetings in, the ad hoc committee has spent time networking with potential guest speakers and researching other local governments and nonprofits which have embarked on a similar fight against racial inequity.  Read More

NewNews press times

Shortage of affordable housing has deep roots, no easy fixes 7/18/21, The Press Times
Stacey Burkhart began her search for a two- or three-bedroom apartment on the internet, looking for something that would have enough space for her 6-year-old twins, a third child, age 8, and her dog. It was hard to find anything for under $900 per month, and qualifying to rent was difficult.  Read More


Northeast Wisconsin businesses struggle to attract, retain employees amid labor shortage worsened by COVID-19 pandemic 7/15/21, Post-Crescent
Across Wisconsin, employers say finding workers is their number one headache. The struggle existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the problem has intensified as the U.S. economy roars back to life. There are more than 110,000 open positions on the Job Center of Wisconsin website, while the state unemployment rate currently sits at 3.9%, almost at the level seen immediately before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.  Read More

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Cow manure predicted to cause most sickness from contaminated wells in Kewaunee County 6/23/21, Wisconsin Watch
A new study predicts the incidence of gastrointestinal illness in private drinking wells, identifying manure as the main cause of contamination. The findings raise questions about the effectiveness of existing regulations aimed at protecting residents from tainted drinking water.  Read More

New News Curt

Why Microsoft, community foundations are helping boost local news in northeast Wisconsin 6/23/2021 Post-Crescent
Why is tech giant Microsoft teaming up with two community foundations to support journalism that serves northeast Wisconsin? You can hear directly from Microsoft and leaders of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. In a new video show, Microsoft’s Eric Prock is joined by Amber Paluch and Curt Detjen from the foundations to discuss their role in the NEW (Northeast Wisconsin) News Lab. Read more

New News competing

Rising referendums: Competing sides search for solutions 6/17/2021 Press Times
The consensus across school districts and party lines is clear – Wisconsin’s school funding system has flaws, and it has had them for many years. What those flaws are and how they can, or should, be fixed long-term is where the consensus stops and the debate starts. Read more

New News Molly

Finding an affordable home means so much to families. Here’s why it’s so hard to do in northeast Wisconsin 6/16/2021 Green Bay Press-Gazette
Molly Rodela can’t wait to say goodbye to the two-bedroom Manitowoc apartment she, her husband, Hector, and their daughters have shared for more than five years. The couple searched for years for a bigger place to raise their kids, ages 9 and 5, but they were not approved for a mortgage loan when they first started house-hunting in 2016. Read more

New News PC

Converting a former newspaper building to affordable apartments took a developer’s passion and government assistance to come together 6/14/2021 Appleton Post-Crescent
Since 1932, the Art Deco building at 306 W. Washington St. had been the home of Appleton’s The Post-Crescent, where generations of reporters, photographers and editors worked to tell the stories of the Fox Cities. But now, it’ll be an affordable home for individuals and families in the heart of downtown Appleton. The former newsroom is a kitchen where a family will sit down to dinner. Old conference rooms have been turned into bedrooms and bathrooms. The press room, where a mammoth printing press once cranked out thousands of newspapers a day, is now an underground parking garage. Read more

New news school

Rising referendums: Spending big in the suburbs 6/10/2021 Press Times
To keep his sights set on the future of public education, Howard-Suamico Superintendent Damian LaCroix keeps close a powerful reminder of the past. Nestled on his office bookshelves are the original minutes from a community meeting held in the Town of Pittsfield on Nov. 15, 1856. “The only thing on the agenda was this group recognizing the need if the community was going to prosper and thrive, they needed to invest in their schools,” LaCroix said. On that day, those 17 community members in attendance agreed on a $200 tax to build a new school house and a $50 tax to pay for a teacher. Read more

New News Homes

Disrupted lives, frustration and stress: Northeastern Wisconsin residents’ struggle to find an affordable, suitable home 6/8/2021 Green Bay Press-Gazette
The search for affordable housing can stall lives, keep families apart, sting with rejection, and add stress to the lives of even the most determined housing hunters. In interviews, northeastern Wisconsin residents told reporters their months searching for an affordable place consumed time, energy and their resources with no guarantee of success. Read more

New News GB

Northeastern Wisconsin’s shortage of affordable housing has become critical 6/7/2021
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Stacey Burkhart is a community leader. She’s the head of SAGE Green Bay, an organization that fosters the arts in the area, and owner of Eight Trees Co., where she makes stuffed animals with clothing that has special value to the customer. Besides planning events and connecting artists at SAGE Green Bay, Burkhart is an advocate for artists getting fairly compensated and community building. Despite her leadership, Burkhart struggled to find an affordable place to live in the very community she served as she transitioned to life as a single mother of three children. Read more

New News schools

Rising referendums: Largest districts spend big 6/3/2021 Press Times
The results of the referendum that would bring $1 billion over 30 years to the Racine Unified School District – one that would allow the district to revamp buildings that date back to the Civil War – came down to just five votes. Ballot questions continue to be used in Wisconsin because school officials find the state’s revenue cap, implemented nearly 30 years ago, doesn’t keep up with what it costs them today to provide education. Read more


Lack of affordable housing is crimping economy, hurting families – 6/02/21,Green Bay Press Gazette
Amber Edwards spent most of the last three years trying to find a place she could afford to live. In 2018, Edwards’ landlord told her the Green Bay duplex where she lived with her 2-year-old daughter and her daughter’s father had been sold and that the new owners planned to live there.  Read More


Brown County Racial Equity Committee begins its two-year mission – 6/02/21, Fox Valley 365
The Brown County Central Library auditorium was filled with big ideas on Monday, May 24. Brown County’s Racial Equity Ad Hoc Committee convened for a second time this Monday to explore ways to address racial inequality in Northeast Wisconsin. In February, Brown County passed a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis. Read More


Rising Referendums – School Funding 101 – 5/27/21, The Press Times
Wisconsin’s school funding structure is like a layer cake, with layers changing in size, shape and flavor from top to bottom. Under the current structure with revenue limits and funds based on enrollment, school districts find themselves with increasing regularity placing ballot questions before voters as the only way to fund everything from new construction to operational costs, such as employee compensation.  Read More


Brown County is just the latest local government nationwide to address the health impacts of racism – 5/26/21, Fox Valley 365
By focusing on health outcomes, local officials hope to take more tangible action on the undeniable and persistent impacts of racism. While progress on eliminating racism can be elusive, the intention is to bring institutions and resources together to address this issue for what it is-a perpetual crisis. Read More

Go Big or Go Home: How Milwaukee set the stage for tackling racism as a public health crisis – 5/26/21, Fox Valley 365
Since 2019, more than 170 local governments including counties, cities, and community boards have declared racism to be a public health crisis. These declarations have led to responses such as increased funding, research, and coordination to improve health outcomes for communities of color. Read More