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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  Light Freezing Drizzle Fog/Mist
The Paper
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Role change

Noticeably absent from our paper last week were the two little wire staples that hold the whole thing together, leading some folks to fear that we had reverted to the old loosely bound style that we tolerated for many years. Not to worry - last week's binding, or its lack, was the result of a mechanical problem at the printer, which, as you can see, has been resolved this week. We like the stitched product, and it remains our standard.

But if you are looking for change in the paper, cast your eyes to the staff box. There has been some reorganization there. Primarily, editor Marc Eisen is now officially executive editor, the first change in his status since 1988. A native of Racine, Eisen has been involved with Isthmus since 1978, when he began contributing freelance pieces. He joined the staff first as associate editor, then as managing editor, until he left to become a staff reporter at The Capital Times. He rejoined Isthmus in '88 as editor, the third person in the history of the paper to hold that position.

Through the years he has been a principal figure in the development of Isthmus, guiding its editorial direction and helping to establish its quality. It is our desire that he continue to do these things from the vantage point of his new position. It was his stated desire to do more writing and reporting that inspired the change in title and status. He will have more time to do the kind of work he did two weeks ago, when he authored our cover report, "Natural Allies," about the Organic Valley cooperative.

While he'll be spending less time managing the editorial staff, he will continue to contribute his wisdom and experience to Isthmus Publishing as a member of a newly instituted editorial board. The role of the board is to oversee the editorial content of the paper, the website and other Isthmus products. It is charged with maintaining the unique character of our publishing efforts and our traditional journalistic values and standards. As such, the board will assume, in some cases individually and in some cases as a group, various of the editor's duties and responsibilities.

Besides Eisen, the board consists of Michana Buchman, associate editor; Jason Joyce, digital media director; Bill Lueders, news editor; Ellen Meany, creative director; Dean Robbins, arts and entertainment editor; and me in my role as editorial director. While the board was called into being by the need to effect an editorial transition, it may be a permanent entity, or not, depending on what we learn. At this newspaper, we learn by doing.

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