At the Capital Times Company (or Cap Times), a digital-first newspaper published in Madison, Wisconsin, Capital Newspapers and Lee Enterprises have formed a joint venture (NYSE: LEE). The Capital Times printed a paper edition every day from Monday to Saturday. Efforts to publish the print version daily (Monday–Saturday) ended on April 26, 2008. While printing a weekly tabloid, it became a digital news outlet primarily. Weekly print editions of the Wisconsin State Journal are distributed in Madison newsstands every Wednesday.
The first time around
A rival to the Wisconsin State Journal, the Capital Times made its debut on December 13, 1917. As managing editor and business manager of the State Journal, William T. Evjue founded the Cap Times. Evjue held Robert La Follette, a progressive hero supported by this publication, in high regard. When La Follette began publicly opposing World War 1, the pro-war State Journal dumped him. Because of this, Evjue decided to leave the State Journal and start The Capital Times. It was in this publication that he expressed his liberal leanings. In the beginning, the newspaper’s motto was ” Wisconsin’s Advanced Newspaper“.
Rumors spread that the new newspaper’s editorials were pro-German because Evjue had backed the anti-war La Follette. Shortly after its debut, The Capital Times was the target of an advertising boycott. As a result of the boycott, Evjue went door-to-door in her neighborhood selling $1 subscriptions. When the paper’s readership surpassed 10,000 in 1919, the advertising boycott ended. In November 1927, the newspaper began publishing a Sunday edition.
Left-leaning magazine The Progressive was co-owned by The Capital Times and the La Follette family in the 1920s. The Capital Times owned it.
Until 1948, there was fierce competition between the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times because of their aging equipment. To ensure the future of both publications, the two papers agreed to merge after years of bickering over advertising and readership. Madison Newspapers, Inc. (now known as Capital Newspapers) was formed on November 15, 1948, by Lee Enterprises, the owner of the Wisconsin State Journal, and Evjue’s Capital Times Company, the owner of the Capital Times, following tense negotiations.
On February 1, 1949, the Wisconsin State Journal became the partnership’s only Sunday newspaper when publishing in the mornings.
The Capital Times continued to publish late afternoons and early mornings on weekdays and Saturdays.
People in the Evjue area benefit from the work of the Evjue Foundation, which is a non-profit organization.
Because of his passing in 1970, William T. Evjue’s controlling interest was passed onto the Evjue Foundation, which had been established a few years before making small donations for good causes. Bequest funds “must go to organizations best exemplifying the beliefs that he championed during his lifetime,” according to a section of The Capital Times ‘ website devoted to the Foundation’s history. Dane County residents should be able to enjoy a better quality of life. When The Capital Times Company acquired the Evjue Foundation’s legacy (worth $13,450), it became a significant shareholder in The Capital Times Company. The Foundation has distributed over $70 million in grants throughout its existence.
Become more digitally oriented
Declining readership had led to a February 7 announcement by The Capital Times that it would cease daily print publication on April 26, 2008. (a problem that plagues the newspaper industry in general, and afternoon dailies in particular). After that, it would focus on digital delivery at captimes.com and weekly print edition distribution. Weekly tabloid newspaper The Capital Times is published in Madison, Wisconsin, and distributed for free at newsstands and as part of the Wisconsin State Journal. Widespread interest was piqued because a major daily newspaper made the switch to electronic news distribution full-time while still publishing in a traditional format (albeit not daily).
As part of the transition, the staff of the Capital Times was reduced from 64 to 20 positions. Paul Finland, the Capital Times’ executive editor, was elevated to the editor and publisher positions. After serving as the paper’s editor since 1983, Dave Zweifel was given editor emeritus.
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