SPJ: names Milwaukee Press Club national ‘Historic Site in Journalism’

Contact: Gloria Gappa-Grundman, 414-588-9571

MILWAUKEE, March 6, 2006 -The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has
named the Milwaukee Press Club a national “Historic Site in Journalism.”
SPJ President Dave Carlson will present a bronze plaque to the press club
during a lunchtime ceremony on March 22 at the Newsroom Pub, the club’s
meeting place at 137 E. Wells St. in downtown Milwaukee. Carlson is director
of Interactive Media Labs at the University of Florida in Gainesville. At
the luncheon, Carlson will address the future of interactive media, and lead
a discussion among Wisconsin journalists on the use of new media in the news
room.

“We’re honored that an organization of such stature at the Society
of Professional Journalists is recognizing the place of the Milwaukee
Press Club in American journalism,” said Steve Jagler, president of
the club and executive editor of Small Business Times in Milwaukee.
“While this award recognizes our past, the club remains a vital part
of the southeastern Wisconsin news media scene.”

The Milwaukee Press Club was founded on Nov. 1, 1885, to foster
professional excellence and camaraderie. The club quickly became a
popular gathering spot not only for journalists and politicians from
nearby city hall, but also a “must visit” place for presidents and
princes, entertainers, authors and sports greats – all whose
signatures grace the walls of the club in, according to Sotheby’s
auction house, one of the most impressive autograph collections in
the world. The club donated the signature collection, which now
numbers more than 1,300, to the Urban Archives of the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1999. The hundreds of signatures displayed at
the Newsroom Pub are on loan from the Archives.

The first location of the Milwaukee Press Club was in the Herold
Building, on the corner of Mason and Broadway. After a short
residency in the Herold Building, the club moved several times in the
next 19 years, before settling into the Miller Building, on the
corner of Mason and Water streets, in 1904. In 1914, the Press Club
moved again, this time to the Jung Building on Water Street. There
the club remained for more than 30 years, until 1948, when it
relocated to the Fine Arts building on Wells Street, adjacent to its
current location. In 1983, the club closed its restaurant/tavern
operation in the Fine Arts Building and moved to the Marc Plaza Hotel
on Wisconsin Avenue. Several more moves occurred after 1983, and the
club resided for various lengths of time in the Brown Bottle Pub, the
Germania Building, the Posner Building and the Park East Hotel.

Finally, in May of 2000, the club completed the process of
negotiating an agreement creating the Newsroom Pub, which is open to
the public and operated by Safe House owner David Baldwin. The club,
now in its 120th year, is the oldest continuously operating press
club in the Americas, and remains a vital and lively part of the
Wisconsin media community. In addition to regular Newsmaker Lunches
and evening social and career development programs, the club annually
presents the Milwaukee City Birthday Party, a Gridiron banquet to
honor winners of its Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism contest (set
for April 29 this year), and a Milwaukee Media Hall of Fame induction
banquet in the fall. More information on the club is available at the
club’s recently updated website, www.milwaukeepressclub.org.

The Society of Professional Journalists (www.spj.org) has been designating
historic sites in journalism since 1942. The Milwaukee Press Club
designation is the fifth Wisconsin entry on the list. Previous state
designees include:

* Baraboo, where Ansel N. Kellogg developed the first newspaper
syndicate in 1861, designated in 1972

* Milwaukee, for H.V. Kaltenborn’s pioneering news analysis of World
War II, designated in 1978

* Milwaukee, where Christopher Latham Sholes is recognized as the
chief inventor of the first practical typewriter, designated in 1979

* Madison, where the Wisconsin Newspaper Association was recognized as
the nation’s oldest press association, founded in the 1830s, designated in
1970.

The March 22 lunch at the Newsroom Pub will be open to the public. Ticket
information and reservations can be made by calling 414-588-9571, or by
e-mailing [email protected]