Bigger, But Not Long-Term (J486)

The Jefferson County Board held a meeting at the Jefferson County Court House on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. The main point of interest in this meeting was the introduction of the 2019 proposed county budget, presented by County Administrator Ben Wehmeier.

Tuesday night marked the first showing of the 2019 proposed budget, after the budget committee spend a week reviewing the full budget.

The proposed county budget for 2019 is close to $81 million, which is an almost $20 million increase from the 2018 budget. However, this budget amount is not long-term. There multiple “one-time capital” projects—park and road renovations—that are increasing the budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

The budget breakdown includes $6.325 million in sales tax and online sales tax, general state shared revenues, utility state shared revenues, transportation, advanced funding and capital.

On Oct. 23, there will be a public hearing for a chance for community members to comment on the proposed budget. In the weeks following the meeting, the budget committee and supervisors will go through an amendment process on the budget. The proposed budget must be finalized and sent to the state by Nov. 15.

Wehmeier explains the proposed budgeting process as a priority-based system. With resources becoming tougher and tougher to come by, it is especially important to focus on priorities.

“We have to look at [the budget] program to program,” says Wehmeier. “A lot of it is related to our strategic vision.”

Board Chair Jim Schroeder continues by discussing the need for a common system among departments. There are 26 departments in the Jefferson County system and it is important that each department is cohesive and effective. Schroeder explains that it is more important than ever that people trust the system.

Although the county is currently in a good place, there are always worries that accompany the budget. According to Schroeder, the county has to look at inconsistent entities long-term, like state budget and economics.

Luckily, the only debt Jefferson County has about $14.27 million left in payments for the highways shop.

“By the end of this calendar year, we will be fully closed on all projects,” says Wehmeier.

Wehmeier ended the presentation by encouraging community members to attend the public hearing on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Jefferson County Court House.


Additional news from the Jefferson County Board meeting on Oct. 9 includes:

  • The resolution in remembrance of Leon Zimdars. Zimdars, of Palmyra, served on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors for 12 years, from 1988 to 2000. He served on the Agriculture Committee, Board of Health, Countryside Farm Board, Health, Land Conservation Committee, Planning & Zoning Committee and UW Extension Education Committee. The resolution was unanimously accepted.
  • The sale of the Lake Mills highway satellite shop. The Jefferson County Highway Department no longer used the Highway Department satellite shop in Lake Mills, so the building was sold to Chandler White of CRW Company, LLC for $60,000. The sale was approved by the board.
  •  The denial of the claim by Joanne Vonachen. During the Jefferson County Fair, the scheduled Travis Tritt concert was canceled due to inclement weather. Vonachen purchased reserved seating tickets to the show, in addition to fair admission. She requested a refund for both purchases but was denied because the County was not legally responsible for refunds. The vote was unanimously approved.
  • The proclamation for 4-H week. 4-H is America’s largest youth development organization and is recognized nationwide during National 4-H Week. This year, the week of recognition was Oct. 7 through Oct. 13. Over 710 youth are active in 4-H in Jefferson County, in addition to more than 280 volunteer leaders and alumni. A proclamation was made that Oct. 7 through Oct. 13 is proclaimed as National 4-H Week in Jefferson County. All board members voted in favor of this proclamation.

More Fines, More Money (J486)

The Whitewater Common Council met at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Whitewater City Hall, in a regular council meeting.

Many topics were discussed, but the major point of interest was the debate about fines for historical landmark sites. A discussion that comes after multiple changes to fines of other offenses.

Due to previous destruction of historical sites around Whitewater, the council members discussed the topic of implementing a harsh fine to deter people from damaging historical property.

The current fines for damage to historical landmarks are $450 to $700. The new proposed amount for the fines is $1,000, in addition to costs of property damages.

All landmarks are considered in this ordinance, including public and privately-owned landmarks with proper signage. Each privately-owned historical house is marked with a boulder and plaque, dubbing it a landmark—thus, including them in the fines—according to a Landmark Committee member.

The ordinance was moved in attempt to deter future vandalism of property, based on events that happened earlier this year. However, it was agreed that all landmarks need to be marked in order to differentiate the historical properties from others.

“Not all of the historical sites are marked,” says Stephanie Vander Pas, councilman. “We need to discuss signage before we discuss fines.”

Vander Pas explains that there needs to be a clear and prominent sign stating that the land, private or publicly-owned, is a landmark site.

A question still stood regarding the proposed ordinance. How will people be made aware of this fine change?

Councilman Jim Schulgit argues that people will commit vandalism whether there is a landmark sign, or not. “Someone committing vandalism is not looking for a sign,” says Schulgit.

The audience was assured that, if the ordinance passed, the news of the fine changes would be made public and posted accordingly. The matter will be handled in the same manner as the previous fine changes.

Ultimately, the matter was deemed unsettled and tabled to discuss at a later meeting. The councilmembers will continue to research the matter and make a decision on the final amount for fines.

City Council Budget 2019

On Tuesday, Oct. 2 City Manager Cameron Clapper discussed the proposed 2019 city budget.

The expected Whitewater budget is $26,259,403, along with a general funding amount of $9,658,650.

The city of Whitewater is expecting to see a decrease in funding from the state, due to the shared services between the City of Whitewater and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Clapper expects to only receive 38% of the $281,417 expected state payment.

This funding decrease is contributing to the increase in city taxes.

Additional news from the Oct. 2 Common Council Meeting includes:

  • The great officer turnout at the Pick a Day, Come and Play event at Washington Elementary, Sept. 27.
  • Coffee with a Cop at Jessica’s from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Oct. 3.
  • Whitewater’s fall Food Truck Fest on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be food, fun, pumpkin painting and pumpkin catapulting. Donations are encouraged for the new library.
  • Whitewater’s 28th CROP Hunger Walk raised $186,243.94 over the last 25 years. The organizers hope to continue to raise money to end hunger.
  • The Discover Whitewater Series run/walk/fun welcomed 749 participants this year. There are hopes to grow the event and highlight what Whitewater has to offer.

Let’s Hear It for the Dream Team

This past weekend, Sept. 28-30, four Jefferson County 4-H members took a nine-hour trip to Grand Island, Nebraska for the AKSARBEN Livestock Judging Competition.

The senior team competed all summer at county, district, regional and state livestock judging events. Their hard work prevailed after winning the state competition, securing their spot at the national competition.

4-H is America’s largest youth development organizations. The organization spans across every county in every state, focusing on developing skills and friendships that will last a lifetime.

One of the most popular 4-H programs are the Career Development Events. Here, students can participate in livestock, dairy and meat evaluation contest. The goal for each participating team is to win state and earn a spot at the national competition in Nebraska.

Jefferson County’s Senior 4-H Livestock Judging team—made up of Danielle Chwala, Alexis Schultz, Trevor Messmer and Colton Klecker—accomplished the goal, in the livestock judging portion.

“I’ve been doing livestock judging for 10 years and I’ve finally made it to AKSARBEN,” says Chwala. “I’m nervous, because I’ve never been to a national competition.”

Livestock judging consists of four main skills including animal evaluation, oral reasons, industry questions and data analysis. Contest participants typically spend eight hours at a competition moving from station to station. Each section receives a score out of 50. A team is allotted four members to contribute to the overall score. There are individual placings awarded, as well.

“The worst part are the reasons,” Chwala says. “We usually have to do three sets, and it’s all memorized.”

This is the second time, in four years, that Jefferson County has had a national livestock judging team. Before that, the county was on a losing streak for 12 years.

“I’m very proud of my team this year and the team that fueled the fire under the county, four years ago,” says Ed Bielinski, Jefferson County livestock judging coach. “These kids have been working so hard, and that’s all I can really ask of them. I’m very proud.”

The team finished the competition in 17 place and a great experience under their belts.

“This was kind of like my last hoorah,” says Schultz. “I’m in college now, so I can’t compete in 4-H anymore. It’s bitter sweet, really.”

Although an unfavorable placing, the team plans to return to competing—apart from Schultz—in hopes of winning state and having a second chance at the AKSARBEN national livestock judging competition.

Research Project: Communication Technology in Journalism

Most people think of technology as an entity that has shaped the world humans live in.  Technology can be thought of as a positive and negative in that aspect. However, not many relate technology to the way that human connect, interact and communicate with one another.  Through new communication technology, socializing with people—near and far—has become easier than ever, specifically through social media sites. Additionally, this new-found source of communication has evolved the way people receive their news.  Newspapers and magazines are, essentially, the thing of the past. More and more social media users are looking to social media—specifically Twitter—to find the latest trends, events and worldly news.

Twitter was originally started as a podcasting company—Odeo.  The company switched tactics after Apple—a company that specializes in creating quality cellphones and laptops—scared Odeo away from podcasts, when they began releasing podcasts on iTunes, a music sales site.  Following the scare, Odeo launched their social media website used for microblogging—also known as Twitter—in 2006 as “a social network and real-time communication service,” according to Social Media Today’s article, Twitter 101: What is Twitter Really About.  The social network was used as a quick way for organizations to share and find information.  Twitter is popular, because of its brief bouts of text allowed for users. At its start, Twitter only allowed 140 character to express thoughts.  Today, the number has increased to provide more information. “Twitter was able to disrupt traditional point-to-point messaging systems like email by providing this one-to-many interface for rapid content delivery and search,” explains Social Media Today.  “But Twitter has evolved from more than just a real-time communication tool into one of the world’s leading sources of social discovery and newsworthy events.” With this newly discovered form of receiving news, journalist had to adapt to meet the expectations and demands of news enthusiasts and social media users.

Journalism has become a dying career choice for students.  The field has received a lot of bad publicity due to constant need for journalists to find the next big story, rushing to get information or jumping to conclusions.  The stories that are published become public for everyone to see, so when there are misconstrued or misinformed articles published, the public feels that their right to know has been compromised.  With the need for fast journalism and the ability to give information quickly without, necessarily, needing to publish a full article, Twitter became a new way for journalists to give their viewers what they want.

Millenials are essentially changing the way people are getting their news.  Twitter has evolved with this generation of social media users to accommodate their news needs, while providing a platform for journalists to reach these users.  Twitter has allowed for a closer connection with users and the media, which has given greater insight to what readers are looking for. The article Twitter, Journalism and Affective Labour explains this concept further.

“The development of an organic relationship with followers, the emergence of stronger bonds between core groups that then become communities, the extension of care and help to the network, are all evidence of the importance of this biopolitical productivity and point to the construction of a new and potentially more radical sociopolitical role for journalism.”

The relationship built between Twitter users and journalists has created a network and community that has rebuilt the desire for news.  This sense of connection has renewed news and the journalistic field, which is restoring faith in the art.

Additionally, Twitter has become a source for political movements and awareness for crisis situations.  For example, recently there was a “Black Lives Matter” movement, which was plastered all over the social media network.  Through the use of hashtags, which devices used to link topics together with keywords or phrases, the movement was able to expand to the world within hours.  Furthermore, in 2011 Wisconsin found itself in the midst of a political movement about labor laws.

According to “Time, place, technology: Twitter as an information source in the Wisconsin labor protests,” there were more than 775,000 tweets with the hashtag #wiunion that circulated around Twitter in a three week time period.  The article also addressed the use of mobile versus computer usage. The data found from the movement said that mobile users of Twitter were more likely to be present at the protest, opposed to computer users. In addition, “mobile users post fewer URLs overall; however, when they do, they are more likely to link to traditional news sources and to provide additional hashtags for context,” explains the article.  Ultimately, all source linkage—mobile or stationary—will decline as the movement continues, or ages.

Twitter’s prominence in news has also changed the amount of news people receive every day.  News is no longer a once-a-day entity, but is something seen hourly—sometimes even live as events take place.  “Reporters make minute-by-minute decisions on what they publish and who reads it, versus the old days when a small group of editors held that power over what went into the next day’s paper,” explains an Illinois News Bureau journal.  News has developed from a morning read, to an entity of immediacy when something arises. For example, there have been a lot of mass shootings in the news lately. A more highly publicized shooting was the Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy.  The event took place on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were fatally wounded in the mass shooting, with others being critically injured. This was one of the deadliest school shootings—some even calling it a massacre. During this horrifying event, news mediums were taking to Twitter to provide live coverage of what was taking place at the school.  This gave people around the country access to information about the students, staff and gunman at the school. Twitter has enabled journalists to keep readers up-to-date with around 140 characters and a click of a button.

Journalism has always been a pretty straightforward job.  They are suppliers of news and facts—and they are writers and editors.  The use of Twitter as an additional news source has allowed journalists to expand their job description from writers and editors to social media experts and real-time reporters.  Nowadays, social media is a job of its own, but there are some newsroom and companies that rely on their journalists to do the jobs in addition to their long list of responsibilities.  

This can be a major struggle for some journalists who have been in the industry for many years.  “Constantly having to adapt to new and improved technology is part of the job,” says Carrie Mantey, editor of Green Industry Pros magazine at AC Business Media. “But I’ve been in the industry for almost 30 years, and social media is just another job I have to do. It’s just more work.”  Journalists have a lot of responsibility, so it can be hard to balance their jobs as traditional news writers and editors—adding in social media work can be overwhelming. Often times, news organizations will add in new jobs for the social media position. This can help alleviate some of the stresses of adding on job responsibilities.

Although there are some journalists who feel that social media is hindering news, there are others who feel that it is helping the industry whole—despite the added work involved. Katie Therian, marketing manager at Topcon Agriculture, says she does the job of two—journalists and social media—but finds that Twitter allows the company to get immediate feedback from the viewers and Twitter users. “The world of hard copy newspapers and magazines is in the past,” says Therian. “It’s time to embrace the resources that we are given.”

Since the evolution Twitter has seen from social media site to a focus on news, the social media site has seen an increase in the number of users on the platform. This increase includes reporters and news businesses, but also people looking to find news from the non-traditional sources. “Twitter provides an information distillery for journalists and all consumers because you can tailor what you follow instead of weeding through a thicket of news each day” (News Bureau). The social media platform has become a more accurate way for journalists to view their user insights and calculate the reach they have on the public. “Journalists like to know that someone is reading their work, and Twitter provides the instant gratification of building a following around the globe.” Additionally, journalists and news sources are able to decide who can see what they are posting, which takes their reach beyond just their subscribers. Furthermore, subscribers are able to retweet and share the information the deem important, interesting or newsworthy, which in turn creates a greater spread of information. Twitter has become the ultimate source of new communication technology.

Another unique influence Twitter has on journalists is the ability for writers and editors to create a name and platform for themselves away from their employers. This is important, because journalists are likely to work for several news organizations in the course of their career. Twitter serves as a permanent portfolio that future employers can access to determine if the person is right for the job. Additionally, freelance journalistic work has become increasingly popular as a result of Twitter’s growing news appeal.

The advantage Twitter has over other social media sites is the amount of reach it has. People look at the number of users on Facebook versus Twitter, and assume that Facebook would be the logical choice to post a news article. However, the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute would argue that opposite. “Twitter has a much wider reach—everything you post can potentially be seen by the whole world. While Facebook has a “share” function that lets people repeat things others have said, it’s not used nearly as often as Twitter’s “retweet” function” (Twitter for Journalists). The article continues by explaining that Twitter is a news and information amplifier, which is why the spread of information is so much greater than other social media platforms—the site boosts information, rather than replacing it with new information.

Technology has become a part of human society. It is no longer a surprising new concept that people are constantly buzzing about. New creations are made, but the excitement and hype over a once incredibly amazing entity has died down. This is not because the products created are not innovative and exceptional, but because humans are used to living in a world of technology. Particularly, a world of communication technology.

Since the creation of social media, humans have seen a change in how people are interacting with each other. Specifically in terms of news, humans have seen a rise, fall and rise-again. Twitter has aided in the rehabilitation of news, and how people are receiving their information. Journalists have adapted to this new form news production—some begrudgingly, but others willingly—and have seen an impressive spike in people demanding more news. New communication technology has been beneficial in many ways in which humans interact, but has been especially helpful to the dying profession and entity, which is news.

Work Cited

Chamberlain, C. (2015). News Bureau | ILLINOIS. [online] Available at:

Groshek, & Tandoc. (2017). The affordance effect: Gatekeeping and (non)reciprocal journalism on Twitter. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 201-210.

Hacker, S. and Seshagiri, A. (2014). Twitter for Journalists – Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. [online] Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. Available at:  

Lee, Kim, & Sang. (2017). How do journalists leverage Twitter? Expressive and consumptive use of Twitter. The Social Science Journal, 54(2), 139-147.

Siapera, E. and Iliadi, I. (2015). Twitter, Journalism and the Affective Labour. Sur le Journalisme.

Veenstra, A., Iyer, N., Delwar Hossain, M. and Park, J. (2014). Time, place, technology: Twitter as an information source in the Wisconsin labor protests. Computers in Human Behavior, 31, pp.65-72.

Zeevi, D. and Zeevi, D. (2013). Twitter 101: What is Twitter Really About?. [online] Social Media Today. Available at:

Feature Story: How Technology Has Changed the Journalism World


Look left and right, back and forth. What do you see? Everywhere you go there is some form of technology that has helped in advancing civilization. Whether it be a car, cellphone or skyscraper, technology is a staple in today’s society. This includes in the workforce, specifically journalism.

Journalism has seen many changes since its first debut in 1556 when a European government published a written notice to its people. The notice was handwritten newsletters, typically used for political, military and economic information. Although a good concept, there were not many literate people back then, making it hard for the message to be brought across. Journalism has changed dramatically since the time of handwritten news for government purposes.

From handwritten, to printing press, to radio, to television and now social media and the internet; the oldest form of journalism no longer meets today’s characteristics of the writing art. News, today, is intended for information on the happenings of the country and the world. People are more interested in staying current on the news developing around them. Had technology not helped journalism evolve, news would be much hard to come across.

The technology that has advanced journalism, from the outside, appears to be a significant benefit to those working in the field. However, there are many new aspects, updates, and software that has to be learned for the media professionals giving people their news.

Editors at AC Business Media in Fort Atkinson sat down to discuss the advancements they have seen in digital media, and how those variations have changed the way they reach their audiences. The main change they have seen is the format of the content they are putting out, because of the implementation of news on social media platforms. “In reality, social media is making our jobs harder,” says Eric Servais, publisher. “We have to put out more news to keep the interest of our audience.”

Twitter, in particular, is now known as a social platform used primarily for news information. Therefore, in order to reach that demographic, journalists are needing to put information on that platform, and learn new aspects of social media that will increase sales, subscriptions, views, and followers on their page.

Additionally, journalists are seeing that they are putting out more content weekly, because their followers are needing a quick fix of information. Amy Wunderlin, editor, says, “print is our main focus, but we are also needing to publish more. Our customers are always wanting more. If that means putting out more newsletters each week, then we’ll do it.” Although social media means more work, there has also been a rise in interest. Jessica Lombardo, editor, explains that journalists are able to use the new digital media and technology to interact more wholesomely with their audiences. Before, journalists were guessing on what material readers were wanting to see. Now, they can view website analytics and monitor post engagement to determine what type of news is interesting viewers.

For industry veterans, social media was not always around. Becky Jolliffe, editor, remembers times when her magazine was in a rough patch, because readers were not seeing the content that they desired. Today, she is able to see attitude changes toward her social media posts and website views, and tailors her content towards those topics.

The journalism industry has changed drastically from the age of newspapers to what it is today. Consumers are able to interact on a more individualistic level with editors on social media and journalist can interact with consumers to determine their interests. Although some industry veterans prefer the hard copy style of journalism, they understand the importance of tailoring their company to the technological generation, which ultimately benefits the publication.

Feature Story Audio/Video/Photography


This feature story has to do with how Twitter has changed the way journalists interact with their viewers and readers. Additionally, it explains the additional work they have to do in order to reach more users.

Semester In Review


Technology is everywhere. No matter which direction we look, it’s right there in front of our faces. New communication technology is also an increasingly growing entity. Social media has taken its place as a heavily used source of news and communication among millenials, and the news media. New communication technology has basically changed the way that people interact and find information.

This class has opened my eyes to all the possibilities of communication through technology. Prior to this class, social media and technology was just a thing that existed. I grew up in the age of technology. I do not know anything other than social media, Google and Wikipedia, smart cars, and any other form of technology that has been around for 20 years or longer. Through this class, I have learned to dig deeper into the technology. I learned to think critically about how social media has changed the journalistic field—whether for good or bad.

There are some people who find love through new communication technology and others who use new communication technology for their jobs. Communication technology has endless opportunities for those who use it. I have found a new appreciation for communication technology, because I have used it for my internship as a way of communicating with viewers, posting social media posts, and finding news for newsletters. New communication technology has made it easier to communicate with other people, but many journalists have found that it has caused more work for them.

Personally,  this New Communication Technology course has allowed me to view different sides of technology. I am better able to analyze communication technology; whether it be memes or social media. This course has been beneficial to my understanding of communication technology.

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Throughout the semester, so far, we have learned about the strengths and weaknesses living in a technological era has had on our generation of students. This week, there were two main ideas that spoke to myself and my fellow students the most: search engine stupidity and multitasking.

Since the start of Google, students have been using the source as a quick way to get information. Oftentimes, when I am given an article to read I am skimming through it looking for key words or main ideas, which I can search for later to get more information. Nicholas Carr makes a good point that Google is making us stupid, because we no longer have to memorize or maintain the information that is learned. Students are relying on the ease and immediacy of the information they get from search engines, so they don’t worry about keeping that information in their brains.

Additionally, the ability to multitask is on a decline. In the workforce employees are expected to do more than one thing at a time, but this is something that is no longer being taught to our upcoming employees. For example, being in class while using your phone is a distraction, not multitasking. It’s almost as if students need to stay connected, but while staying connected they cannot concentrate on the class. Clay Shirky counteracts with a no phone policy. This forces students to fully pay attention in class. Although this can be frustrating for students, it’s a great way for students to maintain their attentiveness throughout the class.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Technology has become such an integral part of our everyday lives. Additionally, social media has taken that attachment to technology to the next level. With this increased attachment, it is argued that social media, specifically Facebook, is making users lonely. How? With the incessant need for likes and approval by subscribers and followers is taking over our feelings, and creating this sense of loneliness when our expectations are not met.

The article “Facebook making us lonely?” by Stephen Marche talks about how the connection to social media is making our ability to connect to humans more difficult. This social media connection is making its users more introverted and isolated, because all the human contact they need is through their technology. However, Eric Kilienberg’s “Facebook Isn’t Making Us Lonely” contradicts Marche’s article by explaining that there isn’t evidence to support that people are becoming more lonely because of social media. Additionally, “The Intimacy of Anonymity” suggests that users sharing too much of their personal life on Facebook makes if feel like a reality TV show. The search for approval and “likes” create the social media culture that is over-sharing.

Technology has proved to be an important part of our history’s evolution, but social media is taking that evolution to a level that makes people think the users are lonely. Facebook is a good example of an outlet that allows people to share their personal lives to everyone that follows them. However, that ease has caused users to over share their information, and seek for approval through social media rather than in person. This concept is what makes people believe social media users are isolated from human contact, and are connected to technological devices that supply us with media connection.