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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a daily morning broadsheet printed in Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker, USA. It is the primary newspaper in Milwaukee, the largest newspaper in Wisconsinmarker and is distributed widely throughout the state. It is the namesake of its owner, Journal Communications, which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchangemarker.


The Journal Sentinel was first printed on Sunday, April 2, 1995, the result of the consolidation of operations between the afternoon Milwaukee Journal and the morning Milwaukee Sentinel, which had been owned by the same company, Journal Communications, for more than thirty years. The new Journal Sentinel then became a seven-day morning paper.

In early 2003, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel began printing operations at its new printing facility in West Milwaukeemarker. In September 2006, the Journal Sentinel announced it had "signed a five-year agreement to print the national edition of USA Today for distribution in the northern and western suburbs of Chicago and the eastern half of Wisconsin."

The legacies of both papers are acknowledged on the editorial pages today, with the names of the Sentinel's [[Solomon Juneau]] and the ''Journal'''s Lucius Nieman and Harry J. Grant listed below their respective newspaper's flags. The merged paper's volume and edition numbers follow those of the Journal.

Milwaukee Sentinel

The Sentinel began in 1837 as a weekly published by Solomon Juneau, a one-time fur-trader and later a successful businessman, who became the first mayor of Milwaukee. It became a daily in the mid-1840s, about the time the city of Milwaukee was formally incorporated. Following Juneau's death it passed through the hands of several owners, before being sold to the Hearst Corporation in 1924. Operations of the Sentinel were joined to Hearst's afternoon paper, the Wisconsin News; a joint Sunday edition was published as the Sunday Telegram. The Wisconsin News entered into a lease arrangement with the School of Engineering for radio station WSOE on November 15, 1927. The lease was for a minimum of three years. To reflect the new arrangement, the Wisconsin News changed the call letters of WSOE to WISN on January 23, 1928. The station was sold to the Wisconsin News in November 1930. The News closed in 1939. In 1955 Hearst purchased WTVW, and changed the call letters to WISN-TVmarker (Channel 12).

Hearst operated the Sentinel until 1962, when, following a long and costly strike, it abruptly announced the closing of the paper. Although Hearst claimed that the paper had lost money for years, The Journal Company, concerned about the loss of an important voice (and facing questions about its own dominance of the Milwaukee media market), agreed to buy the Sentinel name, subscription lists, and any "good will" associated with the name. The News-Sentinel building at Plankinton and Michigan was torn down; the presses were shipped to Hearst's San Francisco papers, and Sentinel operations moved to Journal Square, with Hearst retaining WISN Radio and WISN-TV (WISN-TV remains Hearst's successor company Hearst-Argyle, while WISN Radio is owned by Clear Channel). The Sentinel was a morning broadsheet, published Sunday through Saturday; following the sale to The Journal Company it became a Monday-through-Saturday paper.

Milwaukee Journal

The Journal was started in 1882, in competition with four other English-language, four German- and two Polish-language dailies. Its first editor was Lucius Nieman, who wanted to steer the paper away from the political biases and yellow journalism common at the time. Nieman was an innovative and crusading editor, and under his watch the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other awards.

The Journal launched WTMJ (620) in 1927 after purchasing WKAF and changing the call letters, W9XAO/W55M/WMFM/WTMJ-FM/WKTI-FM (now WLWK-FM 94.5) in 1940, then WTMJ-TVmarker (Channel 4) in 1947; all three stations remain Journal-owned today.

Nieman's successor, Harry J. Grant, introduced an employee stock-purchase plan in 1937, and as a result 98% of Journal stock was held by its employees. A small bloc of Journal stock was given to Harvardmarker College, and funded the Nieman Fellowship program for promising journalists.

Competing with two raucous Hearst papers filled with gossip, features and comic strips, Harry Grant took a more sober approach to news presentation, emphasizing local news. During his years as editor and publisher, the Journal received several Pulitzers and other awards from its peers; it was under Grant that the Journal gained a reputation as a leading voice of moderate midwestern liberalism. During the 1950s, the Journal was outspoken in its opposition to Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy and his search for communist influence in government, which perhaps inflated the Journal's reputation for liberalism.

At its circulation peak in the early 1960s, the Journal sold about 400,000 copies daily and 600,000 on Sunday. The Journal was a Monday-through-Saturday afternoon broadsheet, also publishing Sunday mornings; though circulation had declined from its peak, it still held a rare position for an afternoon paper, dominating its market up until 1995, when the Journal and Sentinel were consolidated.


The newspaper has received the the Pulitzer Prize six times:

In 1919, The Milwaukee Journal won the award for public service because of its stand against Germany in World War I.

In 1934, cartoonist Ross A. Lewis won for his cartoon on labor-industry violence.

In 1953, business desk reporter Austin C. Wehrwein won for international reporting with the series of stories "Canada's New Century."

In 1966, the series "Pollution: The Spreading Menace" garnered the award for public service.

In 1977, Margo Huston became the first female staff member of The Milwaukee Journal to win a Pulitzer Prize. She won the award in the category of best general reporting for a series of articles on the elderly and the process of aging.

In 2008, local government reporter, David Umhoefer, was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for his investigation of the Milwaukee County pension system.


  2. This is based upon the fact that the initial lease was for three years, as well as that according to Frost, S.E., Jr., PhD, Education’s Own Stations: The History of Broadcast Licenses Issued to Educational Institutions. The University of Chicago Press, 1937, p. 213, in its license application of December 30, 1930 WISN stated that the newspaper was the owner.
  3. Bednarek, David J. "Journal won esteemed Pulitzer Prize 5 times," The Milwaukee Journal, 31 March 1995: SS14.
  4. Sandin, Jo, "Last in the newsroom, women scored many firsts," The Milwaukee Journal, 31 March 1995: B1, Final Metro.

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