Oshkosh Examiner Announces Expanded Education and Criminal Justice Coverage

Based on reader feedback, a review of operations and concerns about the continued decline of local news, the Oshkosh Examiner is pleased to announce that it intends to expand its coverage and maintain its three-day-a-week posting schedule.

The Examiner will increase its reporting on education and crime while opening its site to comments from outside contributors. These are three areas that provide opportunities for the Examiner to set itself apart from other local news outlets and further its mission of publishing “local facts that matter so you can be smarter about your community.”

This is a return to basics that will result in a few fewer investigative or explanatory articles. But the change will mean closer and more consistent coverage of education and the criminal justice system.

The Examiner will continue to publish its Friday Focus, but most weeks the focus will be on either education or criminal cases in Winnebago County Circuit Court. Education stories will be based on regular coverage of school board meetings, and crime stories will be based on court documents. Occasionally on Fridays, the Examiner will post a trending story on another topic or possibly a commentary.

Even in normal times, education is a vital community interest and critical to the community’s future. But these are not normal times, and the way we teach young people and help them recover from the effects of the pandemic is something everyone in Oshkosh has a significant stake in.

Some of the crime stories may be hard to read, but they are real. These testimonies reflect real situations that our fellow citizens go through, sometimes as victims and sometimes as perpetrators. A community cannot hope to solve its problems if it does not know what they are. While some of these stories may be surprising, the Examiner will not post graphic details or stories that do not signal a community-wide concern.

Traditionally, education and crime have been the main news stories, but there is far less coverage in these areas in Oshkosh than 10 years ago. One reason is the ongoing demise of Gannett, the company that owns the Oshkosh Northwestern.

Gannett recently announced that it lost $54 million in the second quarter, and on Friday the company announced to its employees that it was beginning to reduce its workforce and eliminate vacant positions. In Oshkosh, the company said it would take one of its local reporters and promote her under the dual rule of editing the paper here and the one in Fond du Lac. It is unclear when his reporting position will be filled.

A third area where the Examiner hopes to fill a journalistic void is local commentary. As we all know, now is not the easiest time to express an opinion on a number of civic issues. In these circumstances, it seems that providing a space for the exchange of ideas can be a route to re-establishing the practice of civil discourse. If you are interested in participating, please contact the editor at miles.maguire at oshkoshexaminer.com.

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