2018 WNA Foundation Collegiate Better Newspaper winner Beck Bajt, a photographer with Ripon College’s student newspaper, College Days, with WNA President Paul Seeling. Photo by Kevin Hoffman
2018 WNA Foundation Collegiate Better Newspaper winner Beck Bajt, a photographer with Ripon College’s student newspaper, College Days, with WNA President Paul Seeling. Photo by Kevin Hoffman

Submitted by Julia Hunter, WNA Membership and Communications Director

MADISON, WI – Paul Seeling, president of Gateway Publishing, Inc., was elected president of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA) Board of Directors on Thursday, March 7, at the Madison Concourse Hotel during the group's 165th Convention & Trade Show with the important theme of, “Journalism Matters, Now More Than Ever!”

Seeling serves as editor and publisher of the (Spring Valley-Elmwood) “Sun-Argus,” the “Woodville Leader” and “MyGatewayNews.com,” as well as the “Valley Values Shopper” and the St. Croix County “ADRC News.” He was first elected to the WNA Board of Directors as a representative of the northwest district in 2012. 

Seeling, a Minneapolis native, founded Gateway Publishing in 2005, after spending 30 years in the commercial landscape industry, as well as five years working in live music production. Over the years, his newspapers have been frequently recognized with WNA Better Newspaper Contest awards, including General Web Excellence in 2011 and 2014 and Most Improved Newspaper in 2005, 2006 and 2014.

Seeling succeeds Sidney “Skip” Bliss, president of Bliss Communications and publisher of The Gazette, Janesville. Bliss becomes immediate past president.

Seeling, on behalf of the WNA Board of Directors, presented Bliss with a traditional "Buck Board" during the WNA Awards Banquet on March 7. The framed keepsake that included a personal note from each board member served as a small token of appreciation for Bliss' leadership.

Bliss spoke eloquently about the industry and closed with positive remarks about its future. He then introduced Seeling and passed the gavel of succession to him.

Seeling thanked Bliss for all he did during his tenure as WNA President. During his acceptance remarks, Seeling said, "Thank you, Skip, for all you have done for the WNA. I am honored to accept this position with this great association. Thank you to the Board of Directors, your leadership is inspiring.

"Thank you to Beth Bennett and the WNA staff for all you do for us and our industry. It is amazing, and I hope you all are aware of it. Let’s hand out these well-earned awards!"

The 2018 WNA Foundation Better Newspaper Contest included 2,799 entries from 121 newspapers. Eligible entries were published between Sept. 1, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2018, and were judged by members of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

Best in Division award winners were: Division A: “The Gazette,” Janesville, Division B: “Beloit Daily News,” Division C: “The Monroe Times,” Division D: “The Lakeland Times,” Minocqua, Division E: “The Ripon Commonwealth Press” and Division F: “The Valders Journal.”

The 2018 WNA Foundation Collegiate Better Newspaper Contest winners also were honored during the event at the Student Honors Luncheon on Friday, March 8. The collegiate contest included 20 categories and drew 283 entries from 11 campus newspapers.

Recipient of the first-place General Excellence awards was The Clarion, Madison College. 

Collegiate Journalist of the Year went to Morgan Hughes, a recent graduate of Marquette University who served as executive projects editor at the Marquette Tribune. Hughes is now an education reporter at the (Cheyenne) Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Gov. Tony Evers welcomed students to the Student Honors Luncheon, which featured a special competition of the Wisconsin Civics Games.

Other newly elected WNA officers include: Heather Rogge, Digital Director for Conley Media in West Bend, first vice president; Gregg Walker, publisher of The Lakeland Times, Minocqua, second vice president; Kevin Clifford, publisher of the Watertown Daily Times, third vice president; Patrick Reilly, publisher of The Dodgeville Chronicle, secretary and George Stanley, editor and senior vice president of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, board treasurer.

The theme of the 165th WNA Convention & Trade Show was truly an important one for our democracy and around the world, “Journalism Matters, Now More Than Ever!”