In celebration of the 100th anniversary of The Capital Times, editors from the progressive paper held a panel to discuss the newspaper’s past, present and future Tuesday at Monona Terrace.
The panel featured Cap Times editors Paul Fanlund, John Nichols and Dave Zweifel and was moderated by former Wisconsin Public Radio host Joy Cardin.
The Cap Times was founded in 1917 by William T. Evjue because he was more progressive than and “fed up” with the Wisconsin State Journal, Nichols said.
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Evjue wished to support former Sen. Robert M. La Follete when the State Journal discontinued their support, Nichols said. Evjue gathered small business owners and farmers to begin The Cap Times because he believed in La Follete.
The beginning of The Cap Times was difficult because they were the first to stand up to various social issues in the first half of the 20th century, such as supporting women’s rights and condemning the Ku Klux Klan and McCarthyism.
“The first years of the Cap Times were a period of battle — it survived that battle,” Nichols said.
The Cap Times, since the beginning, has stood for progressive values and often speaks out regarding important issues, Zweifel said.
When the North American Free Trade Agreement was proposed, The Cap Times was only one of two newspapers in the United States to oppose the issue, Nichols said.
“We’ve always believed that if we’re gonna take a stand on something, we should take it boldy and make it known,” Zweifel said.
Regarding today’s “digital-first” method of production, Zweifel believed Evjue would be supportive because he would do whatever necessary to keep the paper and the progressive voice alive in Madison and in the country.
Going forward, The Cap Times will play an important role in Madison by providing evenhanded, investigative journalism, Fanlund said.
“The Cap Times will continue to provide hard-hitting, objective, authoritative journalism,” Fanlund said.