The Green Bay News-Chronicle (originally known as the Green Bay Daily News) was a daily newspaper published in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from 1972 to 2005. The paper was owned and operated by Denmark, Wisconsin-based Brown County Publishing Company during much of its existence, and competed with the larger and more established Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Gannett newspaper chain, the Press-Gazette's parent company, owned the News-Chronicle during its last year of existence.
From 1972 to 1976, the Daily News consistently lost money in its head-to-head competition with the Press-Gazette (both newspapers were distributed in the afternoon at the time). Wealthy local businessman Victor McCormick, who had a personal dislike for the Press-Gazette, would become a major investor in the Daily News and remain an active voice in its operations until a 1976 heart attack forced him to end his financial support.
Wood's first major change to the paper had already taken place three years earlier (at the time Brown County Publishing began printing the paper), when the Daily News moved from afternoon to morning publication. After the purchase, the paper would be rechristened the Green Bay News-Chronicle (the hyphenated name referencing Wood's weekly paper, the Brown County Chronicle). Wood also revamped the paper from broadsheet to a tabloid format, which made it easier to read at the breakfast table. The cosmetic changes also pertained to Wood as well; after purchasing the paper, he started to grow a beard and vowed not to shave until the paper had a break-even month. It took 21 months and a 13-inch beard before the News-Chronicle turned a $125.81 profit in November 1977.
Content-wise, Wood brought editorial cartoonist Lyle Lahey over from the weekly Chronicle to the daily News-Chronicle. Lahey and his cartoons were a prominent feature of the News-Chronicle's Opinion section right up until the paper's closing. The Opinion section also featured a lively array of local columnists with various viewpoints; Curt Andersen, Ray Barrington, Warren Bluhm, Michelle Kennedy, Bill LuMaye, Yvonne Metivier and Sid Vineburg were among those who wrote columns for the paper through the years. (Both Bluhm and LuMaye were noted Green Bay radio personalities.)
The News-Chronicle would gain a niche audience with its local sports coverage, including reportage on the sport of bowling. Wood decided to market subscriptions to the local bowling community, promising that their sport would receive better and more prominent coverage in the News-Chronicle. The move paid off with a substantial increase in subscriptions from area bowlers, as well as the paper earning several awards from bowling organizations for its in-depth coverage of the sport.
Wood had long disdained Gannett and its operation of the Press-Gazette, but felt that the conglomerate's tactics went too far. He would respond by calling on longtime friend and Santa Fe Reporter editor/publisher Richard McCord to document for the News-Chronicle the tactics Gannett used to rid their competition in other two-newspaper towns. In November and December 1989, those findings were printed in an award-winning two-week series titled "It's Now Or Never", which chronicled the alleged abuses by Gannett and moves that the News-Chronicle had made to counter the Press-Gazette's tactics. McCord later wrote a book about Gannett's abuses and the News-Chronicle series, titled The Chain Gang: One Newspaper Versus the Gannett Empire (University of Missouri Press, 1996).
"It's Now Or Never" served as a battle cry for the News-Chronicle in its efforts to survive and remain a 2nd voice in the Green Bay newspaper market. In terms of being a "call to arms" to local readers, however, the series proved to be too successful. The increased attention the series provided, along with subscription incentives, resulted in a deluge of subscription orders. The increase overwhelmed the paper's circulation staff; many subscribers would become unhappy with the poor customer service that resulted, and they would drop their subscriptions after they ran out.
The News-Chronicle launched a Web site in September 1996, greenbaynewschron.com, getting on the Internet ahead of its competition. The entry was timely, as the Green Bay Packers' run to Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII would give the paper and its sports coverage worldwide attention.
By 1998, the Press-Gazette would change from an afternoon to a morning newspaper, first changing subscriptions in outlying rural areas to morning distribution and then gradually doing the same for Green Bay metropolitan area subscribers. This would cause both newspapers to once again go head-to-head for subscribers and readership.
In 1999, the News-Chronicle would begin a Sunday edition which would be distributed as part of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, requiring subscribers to take the Milwaukee paper if they wanted the News-Chronicle's Sunday edition. The move was seen as increasing the visibility of the Green Bay paper. After a few months, the News-Chronicle also sold its Sunday edition separately, and the joint venture started to dissolve when the Journal Sentinel changed distribution in the Green Bay area from its regular Sunday edition to an earlier, less-complete edition.
At the same time, the News-Chronicle also added a Sunday supplement, This Week, with writing from other newspapers owned by Brown County Publishing.
Many of the News-Chronicle's employees (and undoubtedly many of its loyal readers) were stunned at the announcement, but Gannett had said they would keep the status quo for the short term. Although the News-Chronicle continued to publish as a separate paper, and received printing and technological upgrades as it was switched to Gannett facilities and presses, its circulation and advertising functions would gradually be merged with that of the Press-Gazette.
The News-Chronicle's ownership by Gannett couldn't reverse the paper's failing health, as advertisers decided to spend their advertising money with the larger Gannett newspaper. On May 26 2005, Gannett announced that the paper would cease operations with the June 3 2005 edition. The News-Chronicle had been the longest-running "strike paper" in newspaper publishing history, and the only one to have survived as long as it did since the end of World War II. Most of its remaining employees were offered jobs at other Gannett publications in the area.