Stop the Presses: De Pere Journal's 143-year run comes to an end

De Pere Journal
De Pere Journal

DE PERE - A feeling of loss in De Pere. This week marks the end of its local newspaper.

The once family owned De Pere Journal, known as the De Pere Journal-Democrat until the mid-20th century, first made its mark on the community in 1871.

However its current owner, Gannett Media, has decided to pull the plug on the paper.

"You are looking at the actual newspaper as it was printed on January the 5th, 1922," said Adam Stueck, White Pillars Museum director.

Paging through decades old archives, Stueck showed me what the De Pere Journal of years past, evidenced by worn edges and yellowed paper.

"The front page of course this is a lot of very important stories. We have snowstorms in January of course," Stueck commented.

De Pere's history is documented on these pages.

"Somebody went from De Pere and visited a friend or relative in Appleton, that got in the newspaper," explained Stueck.

Literally everything.

"Someone got a new chicken coop, that got in the newspaper," said Stueck.

Almost every issue is carefully preserved at the museum.

This week's paper, dated February 27, 2014, will be the last to archive.

"It certainly is a very key event with the closing of the De Pere journal," said Stueck.

It's the end of an era. One that started in the late 1800s. A local family, the Creviere's, ran the paper for decades. This undated photo shows typesetters at work.

"You understand the immense amount of work that went in, to put together the immense amount of language that went into these newspapers and to do it really in days," said Stueck.

The weather worn De Pere Journal sign still hangs outside the old newspaper building at 126 S. Broadway in downtown De Pere.

"I figured once it was taken over by Gannett, it was just a matter of time," said De Pere Mayor Mike Walsh.

Gannett Media bought the De Pere Journal in 2004. Walsh says the decision to close down the paper will leave a void.

"We have a community that is pretty interwoven, and especially people who have left and want to keep in touch with what is happening in the community, this was certainly a way to find that out," Walsh said.

We wanted to talk with Press-Gazette Media's Executive Editor Mike Knuth about the closing. He declined an on-camera interview, and instead, sent us a statement. It said in part, "Most De Pere Journal subscribers also subscribe to the Press-Gazette and we are excited to share great news from De Pere with northeastern Wisconsin readers."

Long time readers question how much coverage their community will receive.

"I am really shocked because that, is, I mean, you want to know what's going on in De Pere, and that focus is just on De Pere and the schools around the area," said Lorie Kosmala of De Pere.

You can access nearly every issue of the De Pere Journal at the De Pere Historical Society. There you'll find a computer system with a searchable database to find articles, obituaries and more.