|Owner(s)||Isthmus Publishing Company, Inc.|
|Headquarters||101 King Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, United States|
Isthmus is an alternative weekly newspaper based in Madison, Wisconsin (US). It was founded in 1976, and has built a reputation for authoritative writing on news, arts and features. The paper prints more than 60,000 copies each Thursday, reaching an estimated 40% of all adults in Dane County, which includes Madison and several dozen other communities. It also runs Isthmus.com, a local website.
Isthmus takes its name from the land mass that forms the heart of Madison’s downtown and houses the twin engines of the city’s economy, the University of Wisconsin—Madison and the Wisconsin State Capitol. The paper was founded by Vincent P. O'Hern and Fred Milverstedt, the latter a Madison area journalist and the former a Madison transplant originally from Detroit. It was O'Hern and Milverstedt who came up with the paper's somewhat ominous original motto, "To the Death," a mantra that, according to O'Hern, "expressed our determination to succeed," though he noted that "no life has been lost in [the paper's] production." Milverstedt served as original editor of Isthmus until leaving the paper in 1980. O'Hern would remain as the paper's publisher, and write a weekly "Making the Paper" column; his wife, Linda Baldwin, also served as associate publisher.
On July 10, 2014, O'Hern announced that he and Baldwin would retire from Isthmus, and that its parent company would be sold to Red Card Media, a Madison-based company known for the Red Card prepaid dining service for UW—Madison students. Red Card's principal ownership includes the trio of Jeff Haupt, Craig Bartlett, and Mark Tauscher. Haupt and Bartlett, who now respectively serve as Isthmus' publisher and associate publisher, are former operations staffers for The Onion; Tauscher, like Haupt a UW-Madison alum, is a radio analyst for Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers football and played on both teams during his playing career.
Isthmus, through both its print edition and its website (Isthmus.com), carries investigative and in-depth articles, offers opinions and commentaries on current events, provides incisive coverage of the arts, and features stories on trends and culture in the Madison area. It has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence over the years, including more than three dozen first-place awards from the Milwaukee Press Club and two Golden Quills, the top honor from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. Isthmus is a member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, a North American trade association of alternative newsweeklies.
Isthmus employs more than three dozen full-time staff members. Longtime staffers include editor and TV critic Dean Robbins, associate editor Michana Buchman, news editor Judy Davidoff, creative director Ellen Meany, and administrative director Kathy Bailey. Notable former staffers include arts writer Kent Williams; news editor Bill Lueders, who joined the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism in June 2011 after 25 years at Isthmus; and former interns Anthony Shadid and Abigail Goldman, who have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes.
- "Isthmus". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- Taitl. "Verified Audit Circulation". Verifiedaudit.com. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- "Isthmus | AltWeeklies.com". Aan.org. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- "Making the Paper: To the Death," from Isthmus, 7/10/2014
- "Madison's Isthmus Sold By Longtime Publisher Vince O'Hern," press release posted by Association of Alternative Media, 7/10/2014
- "Madison's Isthmus sold to Red Card founders, former Packer Mark Tauscher," from The Capital Times, 7/10/2014
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- "AltWeeklies.com". Aan.org. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
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- "Abigail Goldman Biography". latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-10-27.