The response to the Kewaunee County Aggregator has been amazing. I picked the name because it is functional: This was intended to be literally an aggregation of news items from and about Kewaunee County, with some of my original reporting sprinkled in as time allows. That’s still the purpose.
But with the migration to a more agile and robust website comes a less unwieldy name. I, um, gravitated toward the name Comet in part because it has historical significance to the area: Before there were Luxemburg-Casco Spartans, there were Casco High School Comets. It’s a snappy and memorable name.
As if to complete the argument, Earth was visited by a New Year’s comet just around the time it was time to decide on a name. And then there was that celestial object that caused a stir the other night when it let out a sonic boom over Northeast Wisconsin. That was a meteor, not a comet, but there’s a family resemblance.
And who is “we”? As we begin our venture, we are volunteer journalist Warren Bluhm and I.T. guy Todd Lohenry, without whose fine work developing the plumbing this site would just be another lonely outpost along a vast digital highway. Todd’s specialty is helping people get found online, and you can find all sorts of grand advice by checking him out.
And so, welcome to the Kewaunee County Comet.
A Declaration of Principles
There’s a classic scene in the great movie about journalism Citizen Kane. Charles Foster Kane has just purchased the great New York Inquirer and scribbles a Declaration of Principles that appears on the front page of the first edition under his watch:
“I will provide the people of this city with a daily paper that will tell all the news honestly. I will also provide them with a fighting and tireless champion of their rights as citizens and as human beings.”
Of course the film is about how he didn’t live up to those principles. It’s hard to imagine someone who could. But they represent a noble ideal to pursue.
Kewaunee County is in need of a news outlet that will tell all the news honestly and accurately. It’s a big job, but that’s the goal here.
There is no agenda on this page except, as the witness oath says, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
I recently looked at something I’d written a year ago, about what a TV newscast might look like if the goal wasn’t to chronicle every conflict and bad thing that had happened in the world in the last 24 hours, and a phrase came to my mind:
I am looking for a journalism that isn’t trying to present the worst possible light.
I can’t change modern journalism all by myself. But I can be that journalist.
There is conflict in Kewaunee County, although people are coming together as people do when there’s a community challenge. The biggest challenge is about groundwater contamination, where it came from and how to fix it.
When I sat down and talked with John Pagel in his office, all I sensed was a guy who wanted to run the best dairy operation he could muster. When I sat down on Lynn Utesch’s porch, all I sensed was a guy who wanted the same. I didn’t see heroes or villains. I saw men who love their homes and want to do right by them.
If you see a hero or a villain in my news stories, I didn’t set out to declare anyone as such. If the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth leads you to conclude one thing or another, well, that’s what journalism is all about.
But my goal here is to present each person’s viewpoint in the best and most accurate light possible. The rest is up to you as a reader and a citizen. I’m just the witness.
Most of the time, though, this is a community working together, and that’s also what this page is all about.
The mission is to tell the story of Kewaunee County – to share its voices and celebrate its heritage, its challenges, its solutions, its cherished past and its brightest future.
Welcome to the Kewaunee County Comet.
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Editor & publisher